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IN    SIX    VOLUMES.  —  VOL.  IV. 







New-  street-  Square. 


HIS  LIFE,  from  April,  1817,  to  October,  1820. 



LETTER  272.          TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Venice,  April  9.  1817. 

"  YOUR  letters  of  the  18th  and  20th  are  arrived. 
In  my  own  I  have  given  you  the  rise,  progress,  de- 
cline, and  fall,  of  my  recent  malady.  It  is  gone  to 
the  devil :  I  won't  pay  him  so  bad  a  compliment  as  to 
say  it  came  from  him  ;  —  he  is  too  much  of  a  gentle- 
man. It  was  nothing  but  a  slow  fever,  which  quick- 
ened its  pace  towards  the  end  of  its  journey.  I  had 
been  bored  with  it  some  weeks  —  with  nocturnal 
burnings  and  morning  perspirations ;  but  I  am  quite 
well  again,  which  I  attribute  to  having  had  neither 
medicine  nor  doctor  thereof. 

"  In  a  few  days  I  set  off  for  Rome :  such  is  my  pur- 
pose. I  shall  change  it  very  often  before  Monday 
next,  but  do  you  continue  to  direct  and  address  to 
Venice,  as  heretofore.  If  I  go,  letters  will  be  for- 
warded :  I  say  '  if, '  because  I  never  know  what  I 
shall  do  till  it  is  done  ;  and  as  I  mean  most  firmly  to 

VOL.  IV.  B 

2  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

set  out  for  Rome,  it  is  not  unlikely  I  may  find  myself 
at  St.  Petersburg. 

"  You  tell  me  to  *  take  care  of  myself;'  — faith, 
and  I  will.  I  won't  be  posthumous  yet,  if  I  can  help 
it.  Notwithstanding,  only  think  what  a  *  Life  and 
Adventures,'  while  I  am  in  full  scandal,  would  be 
worth,  together  with  the  «  membra'  of  my  writing- 
desk,  the  sixteen  beginnings  of  poems  never  to  be 
finished  !  Do  you  think  I  would  not  have  shot  myself 
last  year,  had  I  not  luckily  recollected  that  Mrs.  C  *  * 
and  Lady  N  *  *,  and  all  the  old  women  in  England 
would  have  been  delighted ;  —  besides  the  agreeable 
*  Lunacy,'  of  the  '  Crowner's  Quest,'  and  the  regrets 
of  two  or  three  or  half  a  dozen  ?  Be  assured  that  I 
ivould  live  for  two  reasons,  or  more  ;  —  there  are  one 
or  two  people  whom  I  have  to  put  out  of  the  world, 
and  as  many  into  it,  before  I  can  {  depart  in  peace  ;' 
if  I  do  so  before,  I  have  not  fulfilled  my  mission. 
Besides,  when  I  turn  thirty,  I  will  turn  devout ;  I 
feel  a  great  vocation  that  way  in  Catholic  churches, 
and  when  I  hear  the  organ. 

"  So  *  *  is  writing  again !  Is  there  no  Bedlam  in 
Scotland?  nor  thumb-screw ?  nor  gag?  nor  hand- 
cuff? I  went  upon  my  knees  to  him  almost,  some  years 
ago,  to  prevent  him  from  publishing  a  political 
pamphlet,  which  would  have  given  him  a  livelier 
idea  of  «  Habeas  Corpus*  than  the  world  will  derive 
from  his  present  production  upon  that  suspended 
subject,  which  will  doubtless  be  followed  by  the 
suspension  of  other  of  his  Majesty's  subjects. 
"  1  condole  with  Drury  Lane  and  rejoice  with  *  *, 

1817.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  3 

—  that  is,  in  a  modest  way,  —  on  the  tragical  end  of 
the  new  tragedy. 

"  You  and  Leigh  Hunt  have  quarrelled  then,  it 
seems  ?  I  introduce  him  and  his  poem  to  you,  in 
the  hope  that  (malgre  politics)  the  union  would  be 
beneficial  to  both,  and  the  end  is  eternal  enmity  ; 
and  yet  I  did  this  with  the  best  intentions :  I  intro- 
duce *  *  *,  and  *  *  *  runs  away  with  your  money: 
my  friend  Hobhouse  quarrels,  too,  with  the  Quar- 
terly :  and  (except  the  last)  I  am  the  innocent 
Istmhus  (damn  the  word  !  I  can't  spell  it,  though  I 
have  crossed  that  of  Corinth  a  dozen  times)  of  these 

"  I  will  tell  you  something  about  Chillon.  —  A 
Mr.  De  Luc,  ninety  years  old,  a  Swiss,  had  it  read 
to  him,  and  is  pleased  with  it, — so  my  sister  writes. 
He  said  that  he  was  with  Rousseau  at  Chillon^ 
and  that  the  description  is  perfectly  correct.  But 
this  is  not  all :  I  recollected  something  of  the  name, 
and  find  the  following  passage  in  «  The  Confessions,' 
vol.  iii.  page  247.  liv.  viii. :  — • 

"  *  De  tous  ces  amusemens  celui  qui  me  plut  da- 
vantage  fut  une  promenade  autour  du  Lac,  que  je 
fis  en  bateau  avecZteZ«epere,  sa  bru,  ses  deuxfils, 
et  ma  Therese.  Nous  mimes  sept  jours  a  cette 
tournee  par  le  plus  beau  temps  du  monde.  J'en 
gardai  le  vif  souvenir  des  sites  qui  m'avoient  frappe 
a  1'autre  extremite  du  Lac,  et  dont  je  fis  la  descrip- 
tion, quelques  annees  apres,  dans  la  Nouvelle 

"  This  nonagenarian,  De  Luc,  must  be  one  of  the 
«  deux  fils.'  He  is  in  England  —  infirm,  but  still  io 
B  2 

4  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

faculty.  It  is  odd  that  he  should  have  lived  so  long, 
and  not  wanting  in  oddness  that  he  should  have 
made  this  voyage  with  Jean  Jacques,  and  afterwards, 
at  such  an  interval,  read  a  poem  by  an  Englishman 
(who  had  made  precisely  the  same  circumnavigation) 
upon  the  same  scenery. 

"  As  for  *  Manfred,'  it  is  of  no  use  sending  proofs; 
nothing  of  that  kind  comes.  I  sent  the  whole  at  dif- 
ferent times.  The  two  first  Acts  are  the  best ;  the 
third  so  so ;  but  I  was  blown  with  the  first  and  second 
heats.  You  must  call  it  '  a  Poem/  for  it  is  no 
Drama,  and  I  do  not  choose  to  have  it  called  by  so 
*  *  a  name — a  '  Poem  in  dialogue/  or — Pantomime, 
if  you  will ;  any  thing  but  a  green-room  synonyme  ; 
and  this  is  your  motto  — 

"  «  There  are  more  things  in  heaven  and  earth,  Horatio, 
Than  are  dreamt  of  in  your  philosophy.' 

"  Yours  ever,  &c. 
"  My  love  and  thanks  to  Mr.Gifford." 

LETTER  273.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"Venice,  April  11.  1817. 

"  I  shall  continue  to  write  to  you  while  the  fit  is 
on  me,  by  way  of  penance  upon  you  for  your  former 
complaints  of  long  silence.  I  dare  say  you  would 
blush,  if  you  could,  for  not  answering.  Next  week  I 
set  out  for  Rome.  Having  seen  Constantinople,  I 
should  like  to  look  at  t'other  fellow.  Besides,  I  want 
to  see  the  Pope,  and  shall  take  care  to  tell  him  that 
I  vote  for  the  Catholics  and  no  Veto. 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYROX.  5 

"  I  sha'n't  go  to  Naples.  It  is  but  the  second  best 
sea-view,  and  I  have  seen  the  first  and  third,  viz. 
Constantinople  and  Lisbon,  (by  the  way,  the  last  is 
but  a  river-view ;  however,  they  reckon  it  after 
Stamboul  and  Naples,  and  before  Genoa,)  and  Vesu- 
vius is  silent,  and  I  have  passed  by  ^Etna.  So  I 
shall  e'en  return  to  Venice  in  July ;  and  if  you  write, 
I  pray  you  to  address  to  Venice,  which  is  my  head, 
or  rather  my  heart,  quarters. 

"  My  late  physician,  Dr.  Polidori,  is  here  on  his 
way  to  England,  with  the  present  Lord  G  *  *  and  the 
widow  of  the  late  earl.  Dr.  Polidori  has,  just 
now,  no  more  patients,  because  his  patients  are  no 
more.  He  had  lately  three,  who  are  now  all  dead  — 
one  embalmed.  Horner  and  a  child  of  Thomas 
Hope's  are  interred  at  Pisa  and  Rome.  Lord  G  *  * 
died  of  an  inflammation  of  the  bowels:  so  they  took 
them  out,  and  sent  them  (on  account  of  their  discre- 
pancies), separately  from  the  carcass,  to  England. 
Conceive  a  man  going  one  way,  and  his  intestines 
another,  and  his  immortal  soul  a  third  !  —  was  there 
ever  such  a  distribution  ?  One  certainly  has  a  soul ; 
but  how  it  came  to  allow  itself  to  be  enclosed  in  a 
body  is  more  than  I  can  imagine.  I  only  know  if 
once  mine  gets  out,  I'll  have  a  bit  of  a  tussle  before 
I  let  it  get  in  again  to  that  or  any  other. 

"  And  so  poor  dear  Mr.  Maturin's  second  tragedy 
has  been  neglected  by  the  discerning  public !  *  * 
will  be  d — d  glad  of  this,  and  d — d  without  being 
glad,  if  ever  his  own  plays  come  upon  «  any  stage.' 

"  I  wrote  to  Rogers  the  other  day,  with  a  mes- 
sage for  you.  I  hope  that  he  flourishes.  He  is  the 

6  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

Tithonus  of  poetry  —  immortal  already.  You  and 
I  must  wait  for  it. 

"  I  hear  nothing  —  know  nothing.  You  may 
easily  suppose  that  the  English  don't  seek  me,  and 
I  avoid  them.  To  be  sure,  there  are  but  few  or 
none  here,  save  passengers.  Florence  and  Naples 
are  their  Margate  and  Ramsgate,  and  much  the 
same  sort  of  company  too,  by  all  accounts,  which 
hurts  us  among  the  Italians. 

"  I  want  to  hear  of  Lalla  Rookh  —  are  you  out? 
Death  and  fiends  !  why  don't  you  tell  me  where 
you  are,  what  you  are,  and  how  you  are  ?  I  shall 
go  to  Bologna  by  Ferrara,  instead  of  Mantua  :  be- 
cause I  would  rather  see  the  cell  where  they  caged 
Tasso,  and  where  he  became  mad  and  *  *,  than  his 
own  MSS.  at  Modena,  or  the  Mantuan  birthplace  of 
that  harmonious  plagiary  and  miserable  flatterer, 
whose  cursed  hexameters  were  drilled  into  me  at 
Harrow.  I  saw  Verona  and  Vicenza  on  my  way 
here  —  Padua  too. 

"  I  go  alone,  —  but  alone,  because  I  mean  to  re- 
turn here.  I  only  want  to  see  Rome.  I  have  not 
the  least  curiosity  about  Florence,  though  I  must 
see  it  for  the  sake  of  the  Venus,  £c.  &c. ;  and  I  wish 
also  to  see  the  Fall  of  Terni.  I  think  to  return  to 
Venice  by  Ravenna  and  Rimini,  of  both  of  which  I 
mean  to  take  notes  for  Leigh  Hunt,  who  will  be 
glad  to  hear  of  the  scenery  of  his  Poem.  There 
was  a  devil  of  a  review  of  him  in  the  Quarterly,  a 
year  ago,  which  he  answered.  All  answers  are  im- 
prudent :  but,  to  be  sure,  poetical  flesh  and  blood 
must  have  the  last  word  —  that's  certain.  I  thought,, 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  7 

and  think,  very  highly  of  his  Poem ;  but  I  warned 
him  of  the  row  his  favourite  antique  phraseology 
would  bring  him  into. 

"  You  have  taken  a  house  at  Hornsey :  I  had 
much  rather  you  had  taken  one  in  the  Apennines. 
If  you  think  of  coming  out  for  a  summer,  or  so,  tell 
me,  that  I  may  be  upon  the  hover  for  you. 

«  Ever,"  &c. 

LETTER  274.          TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Venice,  April  14.  1817. 

"  By  the  favour  of  Dr.  Polidori,  who  is  here  on 
his  way  to  England  with  the  present  Lord  G  *  *, 
(the  late  earl  having  gone  to  England  by  another 
road,  accompanied  by  his  bowels  in  a  separate  cof- 
fer,) I  remit  to  you,  to  deliver  to  Mrs.  Leigh,  two 
miniatures  ;  but  previously  you  will  have  the  good- 
ness to  desire  Mr.  Love  (as  a  peace-offering  between 
him  and  me)  to  set  them  in  plain  gold,  with  my 
arms  complete,  and  <  Painted  by  Prepiani — Venice, 
1817,'  on  the  back.  I  wish  also  that  you  would 
desire  Holmes  to  make  a  copy  of  each — that  is,  both 
— for  myself,  and  that  you  will  retain  the  said  copies 
till  my  return.  One  was  done  while  I  was  very 
unwell ;  the  other  in  my  health,  which  may  account 
for  their  dissimilitude.  I  trust  that  they  will  reach 
their  destination  in  safety. 

"  I  recommend  the  Doctor  to  your  good  offices 
with  your  government  friends  ;  and  if  you  can  be 
of  any  use  to  him  in  a  literary  point  of  view,  pray 
be  so. 

8  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

"  To-day,  or  rather  yesterday,  for  it  is  past  mid- 
night, I  have  been  up  to  the  battlements  of  the 
highest  tower  in  Venice,  and  seen  it  and  its  view, 
in  all  the  glory  of  a  clear  Italian  sky.  I  also  went 
over  the  Manfrini  Palace,  famous  for  its  pictures. 
Amongst  them,  there  is  a  portrait  of  Ariosto  by 
Titian,  surpassing  all  my  anticipation  of  the  power 
of  painting  or  human  expression  ;  it  is  the  poetry  of 
„  portrait,  and  the  portrait  of  poetry.  There  was  also 
one  of  some  learned  lady,  centuries  old,  whose  name 
I  forget,  but  whose  features  must  always  be  remem- 
bered. J  never  saw  greater  beauty,  or  sweetness, 
or  wisdom :  —  it  is  the  kind  of  face  to  go  mad  for, 
because  it  cannot  walk  out  of  its  frame.  There  is 
also  a  famous  dead  Christ  and  live  Apostles,  for 
which  Buonaparte  offered  in  vain  five  thousand 
louis  ;  and  of  which,  though  it  is  a  capo  d'opera  of 
Titian,  as  I  am  no  connoisseur,  I  say  little,  and 
thought  less,  except  of  one  figure  in  it.  There  are 
ten  thousand  others,  and  some  very  fine  Giorgiones 
amongst  them,  &c.  &c.  There  is  an  original  Laura 
and  Petrarch,  very,  hideous  both.  Petrarch  has  not 
only  the  dress,  but  the  features  and  air  of  an  old  woman, 
and  Laura  looks  by  no  means  like  a  young  one,  or  a 
pretty  one.  What  struck  me  most  in  the  general 
collection  was  the  extreme  resemblance  of  the  style 
of  the  female  faces  in  the  mass  of  pictures,  so  many 
centuries  or  generations  old,  to  those  you  see  and 
meet  every  day  among  the  existing  Italians.  The 
queen  of  Cyprus  and  Giorgione's  wife,  particularly 
the  latter,  are  Venetians  as  it  were  of  yesterday ; 

1817.  I'IFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  9 

the  same  eyes  and  expression,   and,  to  my  mind, 
there  is  none  finer. 

"  You  must  recollect,  however,  that  I  know  no- 
thing of  painting  ;  and  that  I  detest  it,  unless  it 
reminds  me  of  something  I  have  seen,  or  think  it 
possible  to  see,  for  which  reason  I  spit  upon  and 
abhor  all  the  Saints  and  subjects  of  one  half  the 
impostures  I  see  in  the  churches  and  palaces  ;  and 
when  in  Flanders,  I  never  was  so  disgusted  in  my 
life,  as  with  Rubens  and  his  eternal  wives  and  infer- 
nal glare  of  colours,  as  they  appeared  to  me  ;  and  in 
Spain  I  did  not  think  much  of  Murillo  and  Velas- 
quez. Depend  upon  it,  of  all  the  arts,  it  is  the 
most  artificial  and  unnatural,  and  that  by  which  the 
nonsense  of  mankind  is  most  imposed  upon.  I  never 
yet  saw  the  picture  or  the  statue  which  came  a 
league  within  my  conception  or  expectation  ;  but  I 
have  seen  many  mountains,  and  seas,  and  rivers,  and 
views,  and  two  or  three  women,  who  went  as  far  be- 
yond it,  —  besides  some  horses  ;  and  a  lion  (at  Veli 
Pacha's)  in  the  Morea  ;  and  a  tiger  at  supper  in 
Exeter  Change. 

"  When  you  write,  continue  to  address  to  me  at 
Venice.  Where  do  you  suppose  the  books  you  sent 
to  me  are  ?  At  Turin  !  This  comes  of  *  the  Foreign 
Office]  which  is  foreign  enough,  God  knows,  for  any 
good  it  can  be  of  to  me,  or  any  one  else,  and  be 
d  —  d  to  it,  to  its  last  clerk  and  first  charlatan, 

"  This  makes  my  hundredth  letter  at  least. 

«  Yours,"  &c. 

10  NOTICES    OF    THE  181",. 

LETTER  275.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"Venice,  April  14.  1817. 

"  The  present  proofs  (of  the  whole)  begin  only 
at  the  17th  page ;  but  as  I  had  corrected  and  sent 
back  the  first  Act,  it  does  not  signify. 

"  The  third  Act  is  certainly  d — d  bad,  and,  like  the 
Archbishop  of  Grenada's  homily  (which  savoured  of 
the  palsy),  has  the  dregs  of  my  fever,  during  which 
it  was  written.  It  must  on  no  account  be  published 
in  its  present  state.  I  will  try  and  reform  it,  or  re- 
write it  altogether  ;  but  the  impulse  is  gone,  and  I 
have  no  chance  of  making  any  thing  out  of  it.  I 
would  not  have  it  published  as  it  is  on  any  account. 
The  speech  of  Manfred  to  the  Sun  is  the  only  part 
of  this  act  I  thought  good  myself;  the  rest  is  cer- 
tainly as  bad  as  bad  can  be,  and  I  wonder  what 
the  devil  possessed  me. 

"  I  am  very  glad  indeed  that  you  sent  me  Mr. 
Gifford's  opinion  without  deduction.  Do  you  sup- 
pose me  such  a  booby  as  not  to  be  very  much 
obliged  to  him  ?  or  that  in  fact  I  was  not,  and  am 
not,  convinced  and  convicted  in  my  conscience  of 
this  same  overt  act  of  nonsense  ? 

"  I  shall  try  at  it  again :  in  the  mean  time,  lay  it 
upon  the  shelf  (the  whole  Drama,  I  mean) :  but 
pray  correct  your  copies  of  the  first  and  second 
Acts  from  the  original  MS. 

"  I  am  not  coming  to  England;  but  going  to  Rome 
in  a  few  days.  I  return  to  Venice  in  June  ;  so,  pray, 
address  all  letters,  &c.  to  me  here,  as  usual,  that  is, 
to  Venice.  Dr.  Polidori  this  day  left  this  city  with 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  11 

Lord  G  *  *  for  England.  He  is  charged  with  some 
books  to  your  care  (from  me),  and  two  miniatures 
also  to  the  same  address,  both  for  my  sister. 

"  Recollect  not  to  publish,  upon  pain  of  I  know 
not  what,  until  I  have  tried  again  at  the  third  Act. 
I  am  not  sure  that  I  shall  try,  and  still  less  that  I 
shall  succeed,  if  I  do;  but  I  am  very  sure,  that  (as 
it  is)  it  is  unfit  for  publication  or  perusal ;  and  unless 
I  can  make  it  out  to  my  own  satisfaction,  I  won't 
have  any  part  published. 

"  I  write  in  haste,  and  after  having  lately  written 
very  often.  Yours/'  &c. 

LETTER  276.         TO  MR.   MURRAY. 

"  Foligno,  April  26.  1817. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  the  other  day  from  Florence,  in- 
closing a  MS.  entitled  *  The  Lament  of  Tasso.'  It 
was  written  in  consequence  of  my  having  been  lately 
at  Ferrara.  In  the  last  section  of  this  MS.  but  one 
(that  is, the  penultimate),  I  think  that  I  have  omitted 
a  line  in  the  copy  sent  to  you  from  Florence,  viz. 
after  the  line  — 

"  And  woo  compassion  to  a  blighted  name, 

c<  Sealing  the  sentence  which  my  foes  proclaim. 

The  context  will  show  you  the  sense,  which  is  not 
clear  in  this  quotation.  Remember,  I  write  this  in 
the  supposition  that  you  have  received  my  Florentine 

12  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

"  At  Florence  I  remained  but  a  day,  having  a 
hurry  for  Rome,  to  which  I  am  thus  far  advanced. 
However,  I  went  to  the  two  galleries,  from  which 
one  returns  drunk  with  beauty.  The  Venus  is  more 
for  admiration  than  love ;  but  there  are  sculpture 
and  painting,  which  for  the  first  time  at  all  gave  me 
an  idea  of  what  people  mean  by  their  cant,  and  what 
Mr.  Braham  calls  *  entusimusy '  (i.  e.  enthusiasm) 
about  those  two  most  artificial  of  the  arts.  What 
struck  me  most  were,  the  mistress  of  Raphael,  a 
portrait ;  the  mistress  of  Titian,  a  portrait ;  a  Venus 
of  Titian  in  the  Medici  gallery  —  the  Venus  ;  Cano- 
va's  Venus  also  in  the  other  gallery:  Titian's  mistress 
is  also  in  the  other  gallery  (that  is,  in  the  Pitti 
Palace  gallery) :  the  Parcae  of  Michael  Angelo,  a 
picture:  and  the  Antinous,  the  Alexander,  and 
one  or  two  not  very  decent  groups  in  marble ;  the 
Genius  of  Death,  a  sleeping  figure,  &c.  &c. 

"  I  also  went  to  the  Medici  chapel — fine  frippery 
in  great  slabs  of  various  expensive  stones,  to  com- 
memorate fifty  rotten  and  forgotten  carcasses.  It  is 
unfinished,  and  will  remain  so. 

"  The  church  of  '  Santa  Croce '  contains  much 
illustrious  nothing.  The  tombs  of  Machiavelli, 
Michael  Angelo,  Galileo  Galilei,  and  Alfieri,  make 
it  the  Westminster  Abbey  of  Italy.  I  did  not 
admire  any  of  these  tombs — beyond  their  contents. 
That  of  Alfieri  is  heavy,  and  all  of  them  seem  to  me 
overloaded.  What  is  necessary  but  a  bust  and 
name  ?  and  perhaps  a  date  ?  the  last  for  the  unchro- 
nological,  of  whom  I  am  one.  But  all  your  allegory 
and  eulogy  is  infernal,  and  worse  than  the  long  wigs 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  13 

of"  English  numskulls  upon  Roman  bodies  in  the 
statuary  of  the  reigns  of  Charles  II.,  William,  and 

"  When  you  write,  write  to  Venice,  as  usual ;  I 
mean  to  return  there  in  a  fortnight.  I  shall  not  be 
in  England  for  a  long  time.  This  afternoon  I  met 
Lord  and  Lady  Jersey,  and  saw  them  for  some  time  : 
all  well ;  children  grown  and  healthy ;  she  very 
pretty,  but  sunburnt ;  he  very  sick  of  travelling ; 
bound  for  Paris.  There  are  not  many  English  on 
the  move,  and  those  who  are,  mostly  homewards.  I 
shall  not  return  till  business  makes  me,  being  much 
better  where  I  am  in  health,  &c.  &c. 

"  For  the  sake  of  my  personal  comfort,  I  pray  you 
send  me  immediately  to  Venice  —  mind,  Venice — viz. 
Waites  tooth-powder,  red,  a  quantity ;  calcined  mag- 
nesia, of  the  best  quality,  a  quantity  ;  and  all  this  by 
safe,  sure,  and  speedy  means ;  and,  by  the  Lord  ! 
do  it. 

"  I  have  done  nothing  at  Manfred's  third  Act. 
You  must  wait ;  I'll  have  at  it  in  a  week  or  two,  or 
so.  Yours  ever,"  &c. 

LETTER  277.          TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Rome,  May  5.  1817. 

"  By  this  post  (or  next  at  farthest)  I  send  you  in 
two  other  covers,  the  new  third  Act  of  '  Manfred.' 
I  have  re-written  the  greater  part,  and  returned 
what  is  not  altered  in  the  proof  you  sent  me.  The 
Abbot  is  become  a  good  man,  and  the  Spirits  are 
brought  in  at  the  death.  You  will  find  I  think, 

14?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

some  good  poetry  in  this  new  act,  here  and  there  ; 
and  if  so,  print  it,  without  sending  me  farther  proofs, 
under  Mr.  GifforcTs  correction,  if  he  will  have  the 
goodness  to  overlook  it.  Address  all  answers  to 
Venice,  as  usual ;  I  mean  to  return  there  in  ten 

"  *  The  Lament  of  Tasso,'  which  I  sent  from  Flo- 
rence, has,  I  trust,  arrived :  I  look  upon  it  as  a 
4  these  be  good  rhymes,'  as  Pope's  papa  said  to  him 
when  he  was  a  boy.  For  the  two  —  it  and  the 
Drama  —  you  will  disburse  to  me  (via  Kinnaird)  six 
hundred  guineas.  You  will  perhaps  be  surprised 
that  I  set  the  same  price  upon  this  as  upon  the 
Drama ;  but,  besides  that  I  look  upon  it  as  good,  I 
won't  take  less  than  three  hundred  guineas  for  any 
thing.  The  two  together  will  make  you  a  larger 
publication  than  the  *  Siege'  and  '  Parisina ;'  so 
you  may  think  yourself  let  off  very  easy  :  that  is  to 
say,  if  these  poems  are  good  for  any  thing,  which  I 
hope  and  believe. 

"  I  have  been  some  days  in  Rome  the  Wonderful. 
I  am  seeing  sights,  and  have  done  nothing  else,  ex- 
cept the  new  third  Act  for  you.  I  have  this 
morning  seen  a  live  pope  and  a  dead  cardinal : 
Pius  VII.  has  been  burying  Cardinal  Bracchi,  whose 
body  I  saw  in  state  at  the  Chiesa  Nuova.  Rome 
has  delighted  me  beyond  every  thing,  since  Athens 
and  Constantinople.  But  I  shall  not  remain  long 
this  visit.  Address  to  Venice. 

«  Ever,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  got  my  saddle-horses  here,  and 
have  ridden,  and  am  riding,  all  about  the  country." 




From  the  foregoing  letters  to  Mr.  Murray,  we  may 
collect  some  curious  particulars  respecting  one  of 
the  most  original  and  sublime  of  the  noble  poet's 
productions,  the  Drama  of  Manfred.  His  failure 
(and  to  an  extent  of  which  the  reader  shall  be  en- 
abled presently  to  judge),  in  the  completion  of 
a  design  which  he  had,  through  two  Acts,  so  mag- 
nificently carried  on,  —  the  impatience  with  which, 
though  conscious  of  this  failure,  he  as  usual  hurried 
to  the  press,  without  deigning  to  woo,  or  wait  for, 
a  happier  moment  of  inspiration,  —  his  frank  docility 
in,  at  once,  surrendering  up  his  third  Act  to  repro- 
bation, without  urging  one  parental  word  in  its  be- 
half,—  the  doubt  he  evidently  felt,  whether,  from 
his  habit  of  striking  off  these  creations  at  a  heat, 
he  should  be  able  to  rekindle  his  imagination  on  the 
subject, — and  then,  lastly,  the  complete  success  with 
which,  when  his  mind  did  make  the  spring,  he  at 
once  cleared  the  whole  space  by  which  he  before 
fell  short  of  perfection,  —  all  these  circumstances, 
connected  with  the  production  of  this  grand  poem, 
lay  open  to  us  features,  both  of  his  disposition  and 
genius,  in  the  highest  degree  interesting,  and  such  as 
there  is  a  pleasure,  second  only  to  that  of  perusing 
the  poem  itself,  in  contemplating. 

As  a  literary  curiosity,  and,  still  more,  as  a  lesson 
to  genius,  never  to  rest  satisfied  with  imperfection 
or  mediocrity,  but  to  labour  on  till  even  failures  are 
converted  into  triumphs,  I  shall  here  transcribe  the 
third  Act,  in  its  original  shape,  as  first  sent  to  the 
publisher :  — 

16  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 


A  Hall  in  the  Castle  of  Manfred. 

Man.  What  is  the  hour  ? 

Her.  It  wants  but  ane  till  sunset, 

And  promises  a  lovely  twilight. 

Man.  Say, 

Are  all  things  so  disposed  of  in  the  tower 
As  I  directed  ? 

Her.  All,  my  lord,  are  ready : 

Here  is  the  key  and  casket. 

Man.  It  is  well : 

Thou  may'st  retire.  [Exit  HERMAW. 

Man.  (alone. )         There  is  a  calm  upon  me  — 
Inexplicable  stillness  !  which  till  now 
Did  not  belong  to  what  I  knew  of  life. 
If  that  I  did  not  know  philosophy 
To  be  of  all  our  vanities  the  motliest, 
The  merest  word  that  ever  fool'd  the  ear 
From  out  the  schoolman's  jargon,  I  should  deem 
The  golden  secret,  the  sought  '  Kalon,'  found, 
And  seated  in  my  soul.      It  will  not  last, 
But  it  is  well  to  have  known  it,  though  but  once  : 
It  hath  enlarged  my  thoughts  with  a  new  sense, 
And  I  within  my  tablets  would  note  down 
That  there  is  such  a  feeling.     Who  is  there  ? 

Re-enter  HERMAN. 

Her.   My  lord,  the  Abbot  of  St.  Maurice  craves 
To  greet  your  presence. 

Enter  the  ABBOT  OF  ST.  MAURICE. 
Abbot.  Peace  be  with  Count  Manfred  J 

Man.   Thanks,  holy  father !  welcome  to  these  walls ; 

Thy  presence  honours  them,  and  blesseth  those 

Who  dwell  within  them. 

Abbot.  Would  it  were  so,  Count  1 

But  I  would  fain  confer  with  thee  alone. 

1817.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  17 

Man.  Herman,  retire.    What  would  my  reverend  guest  ? 

[Exit  HERMAN. 

Abbot.  Thus,  without  prelude :  —  Age  and  zeal,  my  office, 
And  good  intent,  must  plead  my  privilege ; 
Our  near,  though  not  acquainted  neighbourhood, 
May  also  be  ,my  herald.     Rumours  strange, 
And  of  unholy  nature,  are  abroad, 
And  busy  with  thy  name  —  a  noble  name 
For  centuries  ;  may  he  who  bears  it  now 
Transmit  it  unimpair'd. 

Man.  Proceed,  —  I  listen. 

Abbot.   'Tis  said  thou  holdest  converse  with  the  things 
Which  are  forbidden  to  the  search  of  man  ; 
That  with  the  dwellers  of  the  dark  abodes, 
The  many  evil  and  unheavenly  spirits 
Which  walk,  the  valley  of  the  shade  of  death, 
Thou  communest.     I  know  that  with  mankind, 
Thy  fellows  in  creation,  thou  dost  rarely 
Exchange  thy  thoughts,  and  that  thy  solitude 
Is  as  an  anchorite's,  were  it  but  holy, 

Man.   And  what  are  they  who  do  avouch  these  things  ? 

Abbot.   My  pious  brethren  —  the  scared  peasantry  — 
Even  thy  own  vassals  —  who  do  look  on  thee 
With  most  unquiet  eyes.     Thy  life 's  in  peril. 

Man.   Take  it. 

Abbot.  I  come  to  save,  and  not  destroy  — 

I  would  not  pry  into  thy  secret  soul ; 
But  if  these  things  be  sooth,  there  still  is  time 
For  penitence  and  pity  :  reconcile  thee 
With  the  true  church,  and  through  the  church  to  heaven. 

Man.   I  hear  thee.     This  is  my  reply  ;  Whate'er 
I  may  have  been,  or  am,  doth  rest  between 
Heaven  and  myself.  —  I  shall  not  choose  a  mortal 
To  be  my  mediator.     Have  I  sinn'd 
Against  your  ordinances  ?  prove  and  punish  !  * 

*  It  will  be  perceived  that,  as  far  as  this,  the  original  matter 
of  the  third  Act  has  been  retained. 
VOL.  IV.  C 

18  NOTICES   OF    THE  1817. 

Abbot.  Then,  hear  and  tremble  !  For  the  headstrong  wretch 
Who  in  the  mail  of  innate  hardihood 
Would  shield  himself,  and  battle  for  his  sins, 
There  is  the  stake  on  earth,  and  beyond  earth  eternal  — — — 

Man.   Charity,  most  reverend  father, 
Becomes  thy  lips  so  much  more  than  this  menace, 
That  I  would  call  thee  back  to  it ;  but  say, 
What  wouldst  thou  with  me? 

Abbot.  It  may  be  there  are 

Things  that  would  shake  thee  — but  I  keep  them  back, 
And  give  thee  till  to-morrow  to  repent. 
Then  if  thou  dost  not  all  devote  thyself 
To  penance,  and  with  gift  of  all  thy  lands 
To  the  monastery 

Man.  I  understand  thee,  —  well ! 

Abbot.  Expect  no  mercy ;  I  have  warned  thee. 

Man.   (opening  the  casket.)  Stop  — 
There  is  a  gift  for  thee  within  this  casket. 

[MANFRED  opens  the  casket,  strikes  a  light,  and  burnt 

some  incense. 
Ho!  Ashtaroth! 

The  DEMON  ASHTAROTH  appears,  singing  as  follows:  — 
The  raven  sits 

On  the  raven-stone, 
And  his  black  wing  flits 

O'er  the  milk-white  bone ; 
To  and  fro,  as  the  night-winds  blow, 

The  carcass  of  the  assassin  swings ; 
And  there  alone,  on  the  raven-stone*, 

The  raven  flaps  his  dusky  wings. 

The  fetters  creak — and  his  ebon  beak 
Croaks  to  the  close  of  the  hollow  sound ; 

*  "  Raven-stone  (Rabenstein),  a  translation  of  the  German 
word  for  the  gibbet,  which  in  Germany  and  Switzerland  is 
permanent,  and  made  of  stone." 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  19 

And  this  is  the  tune  by  the  light  of  the  moon 
To  which  the  witches  dance  their  round  — 

Merrily,  merrily,  cheerily,  cheerily, 
Merrily,  speeds  the  ball : 

The  dead  in  their  shrouds,  and  the  demons  in  clouds, 
Flock  to  the  witches'  carnival. 

Abbot.   I  fear  thee  not  —  hence  —  hence  — 
Avaunt  thee,  evil  one  !  —  help,  ho !  without  there  ! 

Man.   Convey  this  man  to  the  Shreckhorn  —  to  its  peak  — 
To  its  extremest  peak  —  watch  with  him  there 
From  now  till  sunrise  ;  let  him  gaze,  and  know 
He  ne'er  again  will  be  so  near  to  heaven. 
But  harm  him  not ;  and,  when  the  morrow  breaks, 
Set  him  down  safe  in  his  cell  —  away  with  him  ! 

Ash.    Had  I  not  better  bring  his  brethren  too, 
Convent  and  all,  to  bear  him  company  ? 

Man.   No,  this  will  serve  for  the  present.     Take  him  up. 

Ash.   Come,  friar !  now  an  exorcism  or  two, 
And  we  shall  fly  the  lighter. 

ASHTAROTH  disappears  with  the  ABBOT,  singing  as  follows  •  — • 
A  prodigal  son  and  a  maid  undone, 

And  a  widow  re- wedded  within  the  year  ; 
And  a  worldly  monk  and  a  pregnant  nun, 

Are  things  which  every  day  appear. 

MANFRED  alone. 

Man.  Why  would  this  fool  break  in  on  me,  and  force 
My  art  to  pranks  fantastical  ?  —  no  matter, 
It  was  not  of  my  seeking.     My  heart  sickens, 
And  weighs  a  fix'd  foreboding  on  my  soul  j 
But  it  is  calm  —  calm  as  a  sullen  sea 
After  the  hurricane ;  the  winds  are  still, 
But  the  cold  waves  swell  high  and  heavily, 
And  there  is  danger  in  them.     Such  a  rest 
Is  no  repose.     My  life  hath  been  a  combat. 
And  every  thought  a  wound,  till  I  am  scarr'd 
In  the  immortal  part  of  me What  now  ? 

c  2 

20  NOTICES    Of   THE  1817. 

Re-enter  HERMAN. 

Her.  My  lord,  you  bade  me  wait  on  you  at  sunset : 
He  sinks  behind  the  mountain. 

Man.  Doth  he  so  ? 

J  will  look  on  him. 

[MANFRED  advances  to  the  window  of  the  hall. 

Glorious  orb  !  *  the  idol 
Of  early  nature,  and  the  vigorous  race 
Of  undiseased  mankind,  the  giant  sons 
Of  the  embrace  of  angels,  with  a  sex 
More  beautiful  than  they,  which  did  draw  down 
The  erring  spirits  who  can  ne'er  return.  — 
Most  glorious  orb  !  that  wert  a  worship,  ere 
The  mystery  of  thy  making  was  reveal'd  ! 
Thou  earliest  minister  of  the  Almighty, 
Which  gladden'd,  on  their  mountain  tops,  the  hearts 
Of  the  Chaldean  shepherds,  till  they  pour'd 
Themselves  in  prisons !   Thou  material  God  ! 
And  representative  of  the  Unknown  — 
Who  chose  thee  for  his  shadow  !  Thou  chief  star  ! 
Centre  of  many  stars  !  which  mak'st  our  earth 
Endurable,  and  temperest  the  hues 
And  hearts  of  all  who  walk  within  thy  rays  ! 
Sire  of  the  seasons !  Monarch  of  the  climes, 
And  those  who  dwell  in  them  !  for,  near  or  far, 
Our  inborn  spirits  have  a  tint  of  thee, 
Even  as  our  outward  aspects ;  —  thou  dost  rise, 
And  shine,  and  set  in  glory.     Fare  thee  well ! 
I  ne'er  shall  see  thee  more.     As  my  first  glance 
Of  love  and  wonder  was  for  thee,  then  take 
My  latest  look  :  thou  wilt  not  beam  on  one 
To  whom  the  gifts  of  life  and  warmth  have  been 
Of  a  more  fatal  nature.     He  is  gone : 
I  follow.  [Exit  MANFRED. 

*  This  fine  soliloquy,  and  a  great  part  of  the  subsequent 
scene,  have,  it  is  hardly  necessary  to  remark,  been  retained  in 
the  present  form  of  the  Drama. 





The  Mountains  —  The  Castle  of  Manfred  at  some  distance  — 
Terrace  before  a  Tower  —  Time,  Twilight. 

HERMAN,  MANUEL,  and  other  Dependants  of  MANFRED. 

Her.  'Tis  strange  enough ;  night  -^fter  night,  for  years, 
He  hath  pursued  long  vigils  in  this  tower, 
Without  a  witness.     I  have  been  within  it,  — 
So  have  we  all  been  oft-times  ;  but  from  it, 
Or  its  contents,  it  were  impossible 
To  draw  conclusions  absolute  of  aught 
His  studies  tend  to.     To  be  sure,  there  is 
One  chamber  where  none  enter ;  I  would  give 
The  fee  of  what  I  have  to  come  these  three  years, 
To  pore  upon  its  mysteries. 

ManueL  'Twere  dangerous ; 

Content  thyself  with  what  thou  know'st  already. 

Her.   Ah  !  Manuel !  thou  art  elderly  and  wise, 
And  couldst  say  much  ;  thou  hast  dwelt  within  the  castle  — 
How  many  years  is't  ? 

Manuel.  Ere  Count  Manfred's  birth, 

I  served  his  father,  whom  he  nought  resembles. 

Her.   There  be  more  sons  in  like  predicament. 
But  wherein  do  they  differ  ? 

Manuel.  I  speak  not 

Of  features  or  of  form,  but  mind  and  habits : 
Count  Sigismund  was  proud,  —  but  gay  and  free,  — 
A  warrior  and  a  reveller  ;  he  dwelt  not 
With  books  and  solitude,  nor  made  the  night 
A  gloomy  vigil,  but  a  festal  time, 
Merrier  than  day  ;  he  did  not  walk  the  rocks 
And  forests  like  a  wolf,  nor  turn  aside 
From  men  and  their  delights. 

Her.  Beshrew  the  hour, 

But  those  were  jocund  times  !  I  would  that  such 
Would  visit  the  old  walls  again  ;  they  look 
As  if  they  had  forgotten  them. 

c  3 

22  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

Manuel  These  walls 

Must  change  their  chieftain  first.     Oh  !  I  have  seen 
Some  strange  things  in  these  few  years.* 

Her.  Come,  be  friendly ; 

Relate  me  some,  to  while  away  our  watch  : 
I've  heard  thee  darkly  speak  of  an  event 
Which  happened  hereabouts,  by  this  same  tower. 

Manuel-.  That  was  a  night  indeed  !  I  do  remember 
*Twas  twilight,  as  it  may  be  now,  and  such 
Another  evening ;  —  yon  red  cloud,  which  rests 
On  Eigher's  pinnacle,  so  rested  then,  — 
So  like  that  it  might  be  the  same ;  the  wind 
Was  faint  and  gusty,  and  the  mountain  snows 
Began  to  glitter  with  the  climbing  moon  ; 
Count  Manfred  was,  as  now,  within  his  tower,  — - 
How  occupied,  we  knew  not,  but  with  him 
The  sole  companion  of  his  wanderings 
And  watchings —  her,  whom  of  all  earthly  things 
That  lived,  the  only  thing  he  seemed  to  love,  — - 
As  he,  indeed,  by  blood  was  bound  to  do, 
The  lady  Astarte,  his — 

Her.  Look  —  look  —  the  tower  — 

The  tower's  on  fire.     Oh,  heavens  and  earth !  what  sound, 
What  dreadful  sound  is  that  ?  [A  crash  like  thunder. 

Manuel.   Help,  help,  there  !  — to  the  rescue  of  the  Count,  — 
The  Count's  in  danger,  —  what  ho !  there  !  approach  ! 

[The  Servants,  Vassals,  and  Peasantry  approach,  stupified 

with  terror. 

If  there  be  any  of  you  who  have  heart 
And  love  of  human  kind,  and  will  to  aid 
Those  in  distress  —  pause  not  —  but  follow  me  — 
The  portal's  open,  follow.  [MANUEL  goes  in. 

Her.  Come  —  who  follows  ? 

What,  none  of  ye  ?  —  ye  recreants  !  shiver  then 

*  Altered  in  the  present  form,  to  4<  some  strange  things  in 
them,  Herman." 



Without.     I  will  not  see  old  Manuel  risk 

His  few  remaining  years  unaided.  [HERMAN  goes  in. 

Vassal.  Hark !  — 

No  —  all  is  silent  —  not  a  breath  —  the  flame 
Which  shot  forth  such  a  blaze  is  also  gone ; 
What  may  this  mean  ?  Let's  enter  ! 

Peasant.  Faith,  not  I,  — 

Not  that,  if  one,  or  two,  or  more,  will  join, 
I  then  will  stay  behind  ;  but,  for  my  part, 
I  do  not  see  precisely  to  what  end. 

Vassal.   Cease  your  vain  prating  —  come. 

Manuel,  (speaking  within.)  'Tis  all  in  vain  — 

He's  dead. 

Her.  (within-}   Not  so  —  even  now  methought  he  moved; 
But  it  is  dark  —  so  bear  him  gently  out  — 
Softly —  how  cold  he  is  !  take  care  of  his  temples 
In  winding  down  the  staircase. 

Re-enter  MANUEL  and  HERMAN,  bearing  MANFRED  in  their  arms. 

Manuel.   Hie  to  the  castle,  some  of  ye,  and  bring 
What  aid  you  can.     Saddle  the  barb,  and  speed 
For  the  leech  to  the  city  —  quick  !  some  water  there  ! 
Her.  His  cheek  is  black  —  but  there  is  a  faint  beat 
Still  lingering  about  the  heart.     Some  water. 

[They  sprinkle  MANFRED  with  water ;  after  a  pause, 

he  gives  some  signs  of  life. 
Manuel  He  seems  to   strive  to   speak — come — cheerly, 

Count ! 

He  moves  his  lips — canst  hear  him?     I  am  old, 
And  cannot  catch  faint  sounds. 

[HERMAN  inclining  his  head  and  listening. 
Her.  I  hear  a  word 

Or  two — but  indistinctly — what  is  next? 
What's  to  be  done?  let's  bear  him  to  the  castle. 

[MANFRED  motions  with  his  hand  not  to  remove  him. 
Manuel.   He  disapproves  —  and  'twere  of  no  avail  — 
He  changes  rapidly. 

Her.  'Twill  soon  be  over. 

C  4 

24"  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

Manuel.   Oh  !  what  a  death  is  this  !  that  I  should  live 
To  shake  my  gray  hairs  over  the  last  chief 
Of  the  house  of  Sigismund.  —  And  such  a  death  ! 
Alone  —  we  know  not  how  —  unshrived  —  untended  — 
With  strange  accompaniments  and  fearful  signs  — 
1  shudder  at  the  sight  —  but  must  not  leave  him. 

Manfred,  (speaking  faintly  and  slowly.)   Old  man  !  'tis  not  so 
difficult  to  die.         [MANFRED  having  said  this  expires. 

Her.   His  eyes  are  fixed  and  lifeless.  —  He  is  gone.  — 

Manuel.   Close  them.  —  My  old  hand  quivers. — He   de- 
Whither  ?     I  dread  to  think  —  but  he  is  gone ! 

LETTER  278.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Rome,  May  9.  1817. 

"  Address  all  answers  to  Venice  ;  for  there  I  shall 
return  in  fifteen  days,  God  willing. 

"  I  sent  you  from  Florence  « The  Lament  of  Tasso,* 
and  from  Rome  the  third  Act  of  Manfred,  both  of 
which,  I  trust,  will  duly  arrive.  The  terms  of  these 
two  I  mentioned  in  my  last,  and  will  repeat  in  this . 
it  is  three  hundred  for  each,  or  six  hundred  guineas 
for  the  two  —  that  is,  if  you  like,  and  they  are  good 
for  any  thing. 

"  At  last  one  of  the  parcels  is  arrived.  In  the 
.notes  to  Childe  Harold  there  is  a  blunder  of  yours 
or  mine :  you  talk  of  arrival  at  St.  Gingo,  and,  im- 
mediately after,  add — 'on  the  height  is  the  Cha- 
teau of  Clarens.'  This  is  sad  work :  Clarens  is  on 
the  other  side  of  the  Lake,  and  it  is  quite  impossible 
that  I  should  have  so  bungled.  Look  at  the  MS. ; 
and  at  any  rate  rectify  it. 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  25 

«  The  «  Tales  of  my  Landlord '  I  have  read  with 
great  pleasure,  and  perfectly  understand  now  why  my 
sister  and  aunt  are  so  very  positive  in  the  very  erro- 
neous persuasion  that  they  must  have  been  written 
by  me.  If  you  knew  me  as  well  as  they  do,  you 
would  have  fallen,  perhaps,  into  the  same  mistake. 
Some  day  or  other,  I  will  explain  to  you  why  —  when 
I  have  time ;  at  present,  it  does  not  much  matter ; 
but  you  must  have  thought  this  blunder  of  theirs 
very  odd,  and  so  did  I,  till  I  had  read  the  book* 
Croker's  letter  to  you  is  a  very  great  compliment ;  I 
shall  return  it  to  you  in  my  next. 

"  I  perceive  you  are  publishing  a  Life  of  Raffael 
d'Urbino  :  it  may  perhaps  interest  you  to  hear  that 
a  set  of  German  artists  here  allow  their  hair  to 
grow,  and  trim  it  into  his  fashion,  thereby  drinking 
the  cummin  of  the  disciples  of  the  old  philosopher ;  if 
they  would  cut  their  hair,  convert  it  into  brushes, 
and  paint  like  him,  it  would  be  more  <  German  to 
the  matter.' 

"  I'll  tell  you  a  story:  the  other  day,  a  man  here — 
an  English  —  mistaking  the  statues  of  Charlemagne 
and  Constantine,  which  are  equestrian,  for  those  of 
Peter  and  Paul,  asked  another  which  was  Paul  of 
these  same  horsemen  ?  —  to  which  the  reply  was, 
—  <  I  thought,  sir,  that  St.  Paul  had  never  got  on 
horseback  since  his  accident  9 ' 

"  I'll  tell  you  another :  Henry  Fox,  writing  to  some 
one  from  Naples  the  other  day,  after  an  illness,  adds 
— '  and  I  am  so  changed,  that  my  oldest  creditors 
would  hardly  know  me.' 

"  I  am  delighted  with  Rome  —  as  I  would  be  with 

26  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

a  bandbox,  that  is,  it  is  a  fine  thing  to  see,  finer  than 
Greece ;  but  I  have  not  been  here  long  enough  to 
affect  it  as  a  residence,  and  I  must  go  back  to  Lom- 
bardy,  because  I  am  wretched  at  being  away  from 
Marianna.  I  have  been  riding  my  saddle-horses 
every  day,  and  been  to  Albano,  its  Lakes,  and  to 
the  top  of  the  Alban  Mount,  and  to  Frescati,  Aricia, 
£c.  &c.  with  an  &c.  &c.  &c.  about  the  city,  and  in  the 
city :  for  all  which  —  vide  Guide-book.  As  a  whole, 
ancient  and  modern,  it  beats  Greece,  Constantinople, 
every  thing  —  at  least  that  I  have  ever  seen.  But  I 
can't  describe,  because  my  first  impressions  are 
always  strong  and  confused,  and  my  memory  selects 
and  reduces  them  to  order,  like  distance  in  the  land- 
scape, and  blends  them  better,  although  they  may 
be  less  distinct.  There  must  be  a  sense  or  two  more 
than  we  have,  us  mortals ;  for  *****  where  there 
is  much  to  be  grasped  we  are  always  at  a  loss,  and 
yet  feel  that  we  ought  to  have  a  higher  and  more 
extended  comprehension. 

"  I  have  had  a  letter  from  Moore,  who  is  in  some 
alarm  about  his  poem.  I  don't  see  why. 

"  I  have  had  another  from  my  poor  dear  Augusta, 
who  is  in  a  sad  fuss  about  my  late  illness ;  do,  pray, 
tell  her  (the  truth)  that  I  am  better  than  ever,  and 
in  importunate  health,  growing  (if  not  grown)  large 
and  ruddy,  and  congratulated  by  impertinent  per- 
sons on  my  robustious  appearance,  when  I  ought  to 
be  pale  and  interesting. 

"  You  tell  me  that  George  Byron  has  got  a  son, 
and  Augusta  says,  a  daughter;  which  is  it?  —  it  is 
no  great  matter :  the  father  is  a  good  man,  an  ex- 

1817.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  27 

cellent  officer,  and  has  married  a  very  nice  little 
woman,  who  will  bring  him  more  babes  than  income ; 
howbeit  she  had  a  handsome  dowry,  and  is  a  very 
charming  girl ;  —  but  he  may  as  well  get  a  ship. 

"  I  have  no  thoughts  of  coming  amongst  you  yet 
awhile,  so  that  I  can  fight  off  business.  If  I  could 
but  make  a  tolerable  sale  of  Newstead,  there  would 
be  no  occasion  for  my  return  ;  and  I  can  assure  you 
very  sincerely,  that  I  am  much  happier  (or,  at  least, 
have  been  so)  out  of  your  island  than  in  it. 

"  Yours  ever. 

"  P.  S.  There  are  few  English  here,  but  several  of 
my  acquaintance ;  amongst  others,  the  Marquis  of 
Lansdowne,  with  whom  I  dine  to-morrow.  I  met 
the  Jerseys  on  the  road  at  Foligno  —  all  well. 

«  Oh — I  forgot — the  Italians  have  printed  Chillon, 
&c.  a  piracy,  —  a  pretty  little  edition,  prettier  than 
yours — and  published,  as  I  found  to  my  great 
astonishment  on  arriving  here  ;  and  what  is  odd,  is, 
that  the  English  is  quite  correctly  printed.  Why 
they  did  it,  or  who  did  it,  I  know  not ;  but  so  it  is  ; 
—  I  suppose,  for  the  English  people.  I  will  send 
you  a  copy." 

LETTER  279.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Rome,  May  12.  1817. 

"  I  have  received  your  letter  here,  where  I  have 
taken  a  cruise  lately;  but  I  shall  return  back  to 
Venice  in  a  few  days,  so  that  if  you  write  again, 
address  there,  as  usual.  I  am  not  for  returning  to 

28  NOTICES   OF    THE  1817. 

England  so  soon  as  you  imagine  ;  and  by  no  means 
at  all  as  a  residence.  If  you  cross  the  Alps  in  your 
projected  expedition,  you  will  find  me  somewhere 
in  Lombardy,  and  very  glad  to  see  you.  Only  give 
me  a  word  or  two  beforehand,  for  I  would  readily 
diverge  some  leagues  to  meet  you. 

"  Of  Rome  I  say  nothing  ;  it  is  quite  indescrib- 
able, and  the  Guide-book  is  as  good  as  any  other. 
I  dined  yesterday  with  Lord  Lansdowne,  who  is 
on  his  return.  But  there  are  few  English  here  at 
present ;  the  winter  is  their  time.  I  have  been 
on  horseback  most  of  the  day,  all  days  since  my 
arrival,  and  have  taken  it  as  I  did  Constantinople. 
But  Rome  is  the  elder  sister,  and  the  finer.  I  went 
some  days  ago  to  the  top  of  the  Alban  Mount, 
which  is  superb.  As  for  the  Coliseum,  Pantheon, 
St.  Peter's,  the  Vatican,  Palatine,  &c.  &c.  —  as  I 
said,  vide  Guide-book.  They  are  quite  inconceivable, 
and  must  be  seen.  The  Apollo  Belvidere  is  the  image 
of  Lady  Adelaide  Forbes — I  think  I  never  saw  such 
a  likeness. 

"  I  have  seen  the  Pope  alive,  and  a  cardinal  dead, 
—  both  of  whom  looked  very  well  indeed.  The 
latter  was  in  state  in  the  Chiesa  Nuova,  previous  to 
his  interment. 

"  Your  poetical  alarms  are  groundless ;  go  on  and 
prosper.  Here  is  Hobhouse  just  come  in,  and  my 
horses  at  the  door,  so  that  I  must  mount  and  take 
the  field  in  the  Campus  Martius,  which,  by  the  way, 
is  all  built  over  by  modern  Rome. 

"  Yours  very  and  ever,  &c. 

J817.  "IFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  29 

«  P.  S.  Hobhouse  presents  his  remembrances, 
and  is  eager,  with  all  the  world,  for  your  new 

LETTER  280.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  May  30.  1817. 

"  I  returned  from  Rome  two  days  ago,  and  have 
received  your  letter ;  but  no  sign  nor  tidings  of  the 
parcel  sent  through  Sir  C.  Stuart,  which  you  men- 
tion. After  an  interval  of  months,  a  packet  of  *  Tales,' 
&c.  found  me  at  Rome ;  but  this  is  all,  and  may  be 
all  that  ever  will  find  me.  The  post  seems  to  be 
the  only  sure  conveyance ;  and  that  only  for  letters. 
From  Florence  I  sent  you  a  poem  on  Tasso,  and 
from  Rome  the  new  third  Act  of  '  Manfred,'  and 
by  Dr.  Polidori  two  portraits  for  my  sister.  I  left 
Rome  and  made  a  rapid  journey  home.  You  will 
continue  to  direct  here  as  usual.  Mr.  Hobhouse  is 
gone  to  Naples :  I  should  have  run  down  there  too 
for  a  week,  but  for  the  quantity  of  English  whom  I 
heard  of  there.  I  prefer  hating  them  at  a  distance ; 
unless  an  earthquake,  or  a  good  real  irruption  of 
Vesuvius,  were  ensured  to  reconcile  me  to  their 

"  The  day  before  I  left  Rome  I  saw  three  robbers 
guillotined.  The  ceremony — including  the  masqued 
priests ;  the  half-naked  executioners ;  the  bandaged 
criminals ;  the  black  Christ  and  his  banner ;  the 
scaffold ;  the  soldiery ;  the  slow  procession,  and  the 
quick  rattle  and  heavy  fall  of  the  axe ;  the  splash 
of  the  blood,  and  the  ghastliness  of  the  exposed 

30  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817., 

heads  —  is  altogether  more  impressive  than  the 
vulgar  and  ungentlemanly  dirty  *  new  drop/  and 
dog-like  agony  of  infliction  upon  the  sufferers  of  the 
English  sentence.  Two  of  these  men  behaved 
calmly  enough,  but  the  first  of  the  three  died  with 
great  terror  and  reluctance.  What  was  very  hor- 
rible, he  would  not  lie  down ;  then  his  neck  was  too 
large  for  the  aperture,  and  the  priest  was  obliged  to 
drown  his  exclamations  by  still  louder  exhortations. 
The  head  was  off  before  the  eye  could  trace  the 
blow ;  but  from  an  attempt  to  draw  back  the  head, 
notwithstanding  it  was  held  forward  by  the  hair,  the 
first  head  was  cut  off  close  to  the  ears :  the  other 
two  were  taken  off  more  cleanly.  It  is  better  than 
the  oriental  way,  and  (I  should  think)  than  the  axe 
of  our  ancestors.  The  pain  seems  little,  and  yet  the 
effect  to  the  spectator,  and  the  preparation  to  the 
criminal,  is  very  striking  and  chilling.  The  first 
turned  me  quite  hot  and  thirsty,  and  made  me  shake 
so  that  I  could  hardly  hold  the  opera-glass  (I  was 
close,  but  was  determined  to  see,  as  one  should  see 
every  thing,  once,  with  attention) ;  the  second  and 
third  (which  shows  how  dreadfully  soon  things  grow 
indifferent),  I  am  ashamed  to  say,  had  no  effect  on 
me  as  a  horror,  though  I  would  have  saved  them  if 
I  could.  Yours,"  £c. 

LETTER  281.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  June  4.  1817. 

"  I  have  received  the  proofs  of  the  *  Lament  of 
Tasso,'  which  makes  me  hope  that  you  have  also 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  31 

received  the  reformed  third  Act  of  Manfred,  from 
Rome,  which  I  sent  soon  after  my  arrival  there. 
My  date  will  apprise  you  of  my  return  home  within 
these  few  days.  For  me,  I  have  received  none  of 
your  packets,  except,  after  long  delay,  the  i  Tales 
of  my  Landlord,'  which  I  before  acknowledged.  I 
do  not  at  all  understand  the  why  nots,  but  so  it  is ; 
no  Manuel,  no  letters,  no  tooth-powder,  no  extract 
from  Moore's  Italy  concerning  Marino  Faliero,  no 
NOTHING — as  a  man  hallooed  out  at  one  of  Burdett's 
elections,  after  a  long  ululatus  of *  No  Bastille !  No 
governor-ities  I  No — '  God  knows  who  or  what ; — 
but  his  ne  plus  ultra  was,  '  No  nothing  !' — and  my 
receipts  of  your  packages  amount  to  about  his 
meaning.  I  want  the  extract  from  Moore's  Italy 
very  much,  and  the  tooth-powder,  and  the  magnesia; 
I  don't  care  so  much  about  the  poetry,  or  the  letters, 
or  Mr.  Maturin's  by-Jasus  tragedy.  Most  of  the 
things  sent  by  the  post  have  come  —  I  mean  proofs 
and  letters;  therefore  send  me  Marino  Faliero  by 
the  post,  in  a  letter. 

"  I  was  delighted  with  Rome,  and  was  on  horseback 
all  round  it  many  hours  daily,  besides  in  it  the  rest 
of  my  time,  bothering  over  its  marvels.  I  excursed 
and  skirred  the  country  round  to  Alba,  Tivoli,  Fres- 
cati,  Licenza,  &c.  &c. ;  besides,  I  visited  twice  the 
Fall  of  Terni,  which  beats  every  thing.  On  my  way 
back,  close  to  the  temple  by  its  banks,  I  got  some 
famous  trout  out  of  the  river  Clitumnus — the 
prettiest  little  stream  in  all  poesy,  near  the  first 
post  from  Foligno  and  Spoletto. — I  did  not  stay  at 
Florence,  being  anxious  to  get  home  to  Venice,  and 

32  NOTICES   OF    THE  1817. 

having  already  seen  the  galleries  and  other  sights. 
I  left  my  commendatory  letters  the  evening  before 
I  went,  so  I  saw  nobody. 

"  To-day,  Pindemonte,  the  celebrated  poet  of 
Verona,  called  on  me ;  he  is  a  little  thin  man,  with 
acute  and  pleasing  features ;  his  address  good  and 
gentle;  his  appearance  altogether  very  philosophical; 
his  age  about  sixty,  or  more.  He  is  one  of  their 
best  going.  I  gave  him  Forsyth,  as  he  speaks,  or 
reads  rather,  a  little  English,  and  will  find  there  a 
favourable  account  of  himself.  He  enquired  after 
his  old  Cruscan  friends,  Parsons,  Greathead,  Mrs. 
Piozzi,  and  Merry,  all  of  whom  he  had  known  in  his 
youth.  I  gave  him  as  bad  an  account  of  them  as  I 
could,  answering,  as  the  false  '  Solomon  Lob'  does 
to  '  Totterton'  in  the  farce,  *  all  gone  dead/  and 
damned  by  a  satire  more  than  twenty  years  ago ; 
that  the  name  of  their  extinguisher  was  Gifford; 
that  they  were  but  a  sad  set  of  scribes  after  all,  and 
no  great  things  in  any  other  way.  He  seemed,  as 
was  natural,  very  much  pleased  with  this  account 
of  his  old  acquaintances,  and  went  away  greatly 
gratified  with  that  and  Mr.  Forsyth's  sententious 
paragraph  of  applause  in  his  own  (Pindemonte's) 
favour.  After  having  been  a  little  libertine  in  his 
youth,  he  is  grown  devout,  and  takes  prayers,  and 
talks  to  himself,  to  keep  off  the  devil ;  but  for  all 
that,  he  is  a  very  nice  little  old  gentleman. 

"  I  forgot  to  tell  you  that  at  Bologna  (which 
is  celebrated  for  producing  popes,  painters,  and 
sausages)  I  saw  an  anatomical  gallery,  where  there 
is  a  deal  of  waxwork,  in  which  *  *. 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  33 

"  I  am  sorry  to  hear  of  your  row  with  Hunt ;  but 
suppose  him  to  be  exasperated  by  the  Quarterly  and 
your  refusal  to  deal ;  and  when  one  is  angry  and 
edites  a  paper,  I  should  think  the  temptation  too 
strong  for  literary  nature,  which  is  not  always 
human.  I  can't  conceive  in  what,  and  for  what,  he 
abuses  you :  what  have  you  done  ?  you  are  not  an 
author,  nor  a  politician,  nor  a  public  character ;  I 
know  no  scrape  you  have  tumbled  into.  I  am  the 
more  sorry  for  this  because  I  introduced  you  to 
Hunt,  and  because  I  believe  him  to  be  a  good  man ; 
but  till  I  know  the  particulars,  I  can  give  no  opinion. 

"  Let  me  know  about  Lalla  Rookh,  which  must 
be  out  by  this  time. 

"  I  restore  the  proofs,  but  the  punctuation  should 
be  corrected.  I  feel  too  lazy  to  have  at  it  n^self ; 
so  beg  and  pray  Mr.  Gifford  for  me.  —  Address  to 
Venice.  In  a  few  days  I  go  to  my  villeggiatura,  in 
a  cassino  near  the  Brenta,  a  few  miles  only  on  the 
main  land.  I  have  determined  on  another  year,  and 
many  years  of  residence  if  I  can  compass  them. 
Marianna  is  with  me,  hardly  recovered  of  the  fever, 
which  has  been  attacking  all  Italy  last  winter.  I  am 
afraid  she  is  a  little  hectic ;  but  I  hope  the  best. 

«  Ever,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  Torwaltzen  has  done  a  bust  of  me  at 
Rome  for  Mr.  Hobhouse,  which  is  reckoned  very 
good.  He  is  their  best  after  Canova,  and  by  some 
preferred  to  him. 

"  I  have  had  a  letter  from  Mr.  Hodgson.  He  is 
very  happy,  has  got  a  living,  but  not  a  child :  if  he 

VOL.  IV.  D 

S4f  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

had  stuck  to  a  curacy,  babes  would  have  come  of 
course,  because  he  could  not  have  maintained  them. 

"  Remember  me  to  all  friends,  &c.  &c. 

"  An  Austrian  officer,  the  other  day,  being  in  love 
•with  a  Venetian,  was  ordered,  with  his  regiment, 
into  Hungary.  Distracted  between  love  and  duty, 
lie  purchased  a  deadly  drug,  which  dividing  with  his 
mistress,  both  swallowed.  The  ensuing  pains  were 
terrific,  but  the  pills  were  purgative,  and  not  poison- 
ous, by  the  contrivance  of  the  unsentimental  apothe- 
cary ;  so  that  so  much  suicide  was  all  thrown  away. 
You  may  conceive  the  previous  confusion  and  the 
final  laughter;  but  the  intention  was  good  on  all 

LETTER  282.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  June  8.  1817. 

"  The  present  letter  will  be  delivered  to  you  by 
two  Armenian  friars,  on  their  way,  by  England,  to 
Madras.  They  will  also  convey  some  copies  of  the 
grammar,  which  I  think  you  agreed  to  take.  If  you 
can  be  of  any  use  to  them,  either  amongst  your 
naval  or  East  Indian  acquaintances,  I  hope  you  will 
so  far  oblige  me,  as  they  and  their  order  have  been 
remarkably  attentive  and  friendly  towards  me  since 
my  arrival  at  Venice.  Their  names  are  Father 
Sukias  Somalian  and  Father  Sarkis  Theodorosian. 
They  speak  Italian,  and  probably  French,  or  a  little 
English.  Repeating  earnestly  my  recommendatory 
request,  believe  me,  very  truly,  yours, 

"  BYRON. 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  35 

"  Perhaps  you  can  help  them  to  their  passage,  or 
give  or  get  them  letters  for  India." 

LETTER  283.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  June  14.  1817. 

"  I  write  to  you  from  the  banks  of  the  Brenta,  a 
few  miles  from  Venice,  where  I  have  colonised  for 
six  months  to  come.  Address,  as  usual,  to  Venice. 

"  Three  months  after  date  (17th  March), — like 
the  unnegotiable  bill  despondingly  received  by  the 
reluctant  tailor,  —  your  despatch  has  arrived,  con- 
taining the  extract  from  Moore's  Italy  and  Mr. 
Maturin's  bankrupt  tragedy.  It  is  the  absurd  work 
of  a  clever  man.  I  think  it  might  have  done  upon 
the  stage,  if  he  had  made  Manuel  (by  some  trickery, 
in  a  masque  or  vizor)  fight  his  own  battle,  instead 
of  employing  Molineux  as  his  champion ;  and,  after 
the  defeat  of  Torismond,  have  made  him  spare  tne 
son  of  his  enemy,  by  some  revulsion  of  feeling,  not 
incompatible  with  a  character  of  extravagant  and 
distempered  emotions.  But  as  it  is,  what  with  the 
Justiza,  and  the  ridiculous  conduct  of  the  whole 
dram.  pers.  (for  they  are  all  as  mad  as  Manuel,  who 
surely  must  have  had  more  interest  with  a  corrupt 
bench  than  a  distant  relation  and  heir  presumptive, 
somewhat  suspect  of  homicide,)  I  do  not  wonder 
at  its  failure.  As  a  play,  it  is  impracticable ;  as  a 
poem,  no  great  things.  Who  was  the  *  Greek  that 
grappled  with  glory  naked  ? '  the  Olympic  wrestlers  ? 
or  Alexander  the  Great,  when  he  ran  stark  round 
the  tomb  of  t'other  fellow?  or  the  Spartan  who  was 
D  2 

36  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

fined  by  the  Ephori  for  fighting  without  his  armour? 
or  who?  And  as  to  '  flaying  off  life  like  a  garment/ 
helas !  that's  in  Tom  Thumb — see  king  Arthur's 
soliloquy : 

"  '  Life's  a  mere  rag,  not  worth  a  prince's  wearing  ; 
I'll  cast  it  off.' 

And  the  stage-directions — *  Staggers  among  the 
bodies ;' — the  slain  are  too  numerous,  as  well  as  the 
blackamoor  knights-penitent  being  one  too  many: 
and  De  Zelos  is  such  a  shabby  Monmouth  Street 
villain,  without  any  redeeming  quality — Stap  my 
vitals  I  Maturin  seems  to  be  declining  into  Nat.  Lee. 
But  let  him  try  again ;  he  has  talent,  but  not  much 
taste.  I  'gin  to  fear,  or  to  hope,  that  Sotheby,  after 
all,  is  to  be  the  Eschylus  of  the  age,  unless  Mr.  Shiel 
be  really  worthy  his  success.  The  more  I  see  of 
the  stage,  the  less  I  would  wish  to  have  any  thing 
to  do  with  it ;  as  a  proof  of  which,  I  hope  you  have 
received  the  third  Act  of  Manfred,  which  will  at 
least  prove  that  I  wish  to  steer  very  clear  of  the 
possibility  of  being  put  into  scenery.  I  sent  it  from 

"  I  returned  the  proof  of  Tasso.  By  the  way, 
have  you  never  received  a  translation  of  St.  Paul 
which  I  sent  you,  not  for  publication,  before  I  went 
to  Rome? 

"  I  am  at  present  on  the  Brenta.  Opposite  is  a 
Spanish  marquis,  ninety  years  old ;  next  his  casino 
is  a  Frenchman's, — besides  the  natives ;  so  that,  as 
somebody  said  the  other  day,  we  are  exactly  one  of 
Goldoni's  comedies  (La  Vedova  Scaltra),  where  a 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  37 

Spaniard,  English,  and  Frenchman  are  introduced : 
but  we  are  all  very  good  neighbours,  Venetians,  &c. 
&c.  &c. 

"  I  am  just  getting  on  horseback  for  my  evening 
ride,  and  a  visit  to  a  physician,  who  has  an  agreeable 
family,  of  a  wife  and  four  unmarried  daughters,  all 
under  eighteen,  who  are  friends  of  Signora  S  *  *, 
and  enemies  to  nobody.  There  are,  and  are  to  be, 
besides,  conversaziones  and  I  know  not  what,  a 
Countess  Labbia's  and  I  know  not  whom.  The 
weather  is  mild;  the  thermometer  110  in  the  sun 
this  day,  and  80  odd  in  the  shade.  Yours,  &c. 

"  N." 

LETTER  284.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  June  17.  1817. 

"  It  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  hear  of  Moore's 
success,  and  the  more  so  that  I  never  doubted  that 
ft  would  be  complete.  Whatever  good  you  can  tell 
me  of  him  and  his  poem  will  be  most  acceptable :  I 
feel  very  anxious  indeed  to  receive  it.  I  hope  that 
he  is  as  happy  in  his  fame  and  reward  as  I  wish  him 
to  be ;  for  I  know  no  one  who  deserves  both  more 
— if  any  so  much. 

"  Now  to  business ;  ******!  say  unto  you, 
verily,  it  is  not  so;  or,  as  the  foreigner  said  to 
the  waiter,  after  asking  him  to  bring  a  glass  of 
water,  to  which  the  man  answered,  '  I  will,  sir, '  — 
*  You  will!  —  G — d  d — n,  —  I  say,  you  mush!' 
And  I  will  submit  this  to  the  decision  of  any  person 
or  persons  to  be  appointed  by  both,  on  a  fair  examin- 
D  3 

SS  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

ation  of  the  circumstances  of  this  as  compared  with 
the  preceding  publications.  So  there's  for  you. 
There  is  always  some  row  or  other  previously  to  all 
our  publications :  it  should  seem  that,  on  approxi- 
mating, we  can  never  quite  get  over  the  natural  an- 
tipathy of  author  and  bookseller,  and  that  more  par- 
ticularly the  ferine  nature  of  the  latter  must  break 

"  You  are  out  about  the  third  Canto :  I  have  not 
done,  nor  designed,  a  line  of  continuation  to  that 
poem.  I  was  too  short  a  time  at  Rome  for  it,  and 
have  no  thought  of  recommencing. 

"  I  cannot  well  explain  to  you  by  letter  what  I  con- 
ceive to  be  the  origin  of  Mrs.  Leigh's  notion  about 
'  Tales  of  my  Landlord ;'  but  it  is  some  points  of 
the  characters  of  Sir  E.  Manley  and  Burley,  as  well 
as  one  or  two  of  the  jocular  portions,  on  which  it  is 
founded,  probably. 

"  If  you  have  received  Dr.  Polidori  as  well  as  a 
parcel  of  books,  and  you  can  be  of  use  to  him,  be  so. 
I  never  was  much  more  disgusted  with  any  human 
production  than  with  the  eternal  nonsense,  and  tra- 
casseries,  and  emptiness,  and  ill  humour,  and  vanity 
of  that  young  person  ;  but  he  has  some  talent,  and  is 
a  man  of  honour,  and  has  dispositions  of  amendment, 
in  which  he  has  been  aided  by  a  little  subsequent 
experience,  and  may  turn  out  well.  Therefore,  use 
your  government  interest  for  him,  for  he  is  improved 
and  improvable. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYROX.  39 

LETTER  285.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  June  18.  1817. 

"  Enclosed  is  a  letter  to  Dr.  Holland  from  Pin- 
demonte.  Not  knowing  the  Doctor's  address,  I  am 
desired  to  enquire,  and,  perhaps,  being  a  literary  man, 
you  will  know  or  discover  his  haunt  near  some  popu- 
lous churchyard.  I  have  written  to  you  a  scolding 
letter  —  I  believe,  upon  a  misapprehended  passage 
in  your  letter  —  but  never  mind  :  it  will  do  for  next 
time,  and  you  will  surely  deserve  it.  Talking  of 
doctors  reminds  me  once  more  to  recommend  to  you 
one  who  will  not  recommend  himself,  —  the  Doctor 
Polidori.  If  you  can  help  him  to  a  publisher,  do  ; 
or,  if  you  have  any  sick  relation,  I  would  advise  his 
advice  :  all  the  patients  he  had  in  Italy  are  dead  — 
Mr.  *  *'s  son,  Mr.  Homer,  and  Lord  G  *  *,  whom 
he  embowelled  with  great  success  at  Pisa. 

"  Remember  me  to  Moore,  whom  I  congratulate. 
How  is  Rogers  ?  and  what  is  become  of  Campbell 
and  all  t'other  fellows  of  the  Druid  order  ?  I  got 
Maturin's  Bedlam  at  last,  but  no  other  parcel  ;  I  am 
in  fits  for  the  tooth-powder,  and  the  magnesia.  I 
want  some  of  Burkitt's  soda-powders.  Will  you  tell 
Mr.  Kinnaird  that  I  have  written  him  two  letters  on 
pressing  business,  (about  Newstead,  &c.)  to  which  I 
humbly  solicit  his  attendance.  I  am  just  returned 
from  a  gallop  along  the  banks  of  the  Brenta  —  time, 
sunset.  Yours, 

«  B." 

D   4- 

40  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

LETTER  286.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  July  1.  1817. 

"  Since  my  former  letter,  I  have  been  working  up 
my  impressions  into  a  fourth  Canto  of  Childe 
Harold,  of  which  I  have  roughened  off  about  rather 
better  than  thirty  stanzas,  and  mean  to  go  on  ;  and 
probably  to  make  this  '  Fytte '  the  concluding  one  of 
the  poem,  so  that  you  may  propose  against  the 
autumn  to  draw  out  the  conscription  for  1818.  You 
must  provide  moneys,  as  this  new  resumption  bodes 
you  certain  disbursements.  Somewhere  about  the 
end  of  September  or  October,  I  propose  to  be  under 
way  (f.  e.  in  the  press) ;  but  I  have  no  idea  yet  of 
the  probable  length  or  calibre  of  the  Canto,  or  what 
it  will  be  good  for ;  but  I  mean  to  be  as  mercenary 
as  possible,  an  example  (I  do  not  mean  of  any  indi- 
vidual in  particular,  and  least  of  all,  any  person  or 
persons  of  our  mutual  acquaintance)  which  I  should 
have  followed  in  my  youth,  and  I  might  still  have 
been  a  prosperous  gentleman. 

"  No  tooth-powder,  no  letters,  no  recent  tidings 
of  you. 

"  Mr.  Lewis  is  at  Venice,  and  I  am  going  up  to 
stay  a  week  with  him  there  —  as  it  is  one  of  his  en- 
thusiasms also  to  like  the  city. 

"  I  stood  in  Venice  on  the  '  Bridge  of  Sighs,'  &c.  &c. 

"  The  '  Bridge  of  Sighs '  (i.  e.  Ponte  de'i  Sospiri) 
is  thatwhich  divides,  or  rather  joins,  the  palace  of  the 
Doge  to  the  prison  of  the  state.  It  has  two  pas- 
sages :  the  criminal  went  by  the  one  to  judgment, 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  41 

and  returned  by  the  other  to  death,  being  strangled 
in  a  chamber  adjoining,  where  there  was  a  mechani- 
cal process  for  the  purpose. 

"  This  is  the  first  stanza  of  our  new  Canto ;  and 
now  for  a  line  of  the  second :  — 

"  In  Venice,  Tasso's  echoes  are  no  more, 
And  silent  rows  the  songless  gondolier, 
Her  palaces,  &c.  &c. 

"  You  know  that  formerly  the  gondoliers  sung 
always,  and  Tasso's  Gierusalemme  was  their  ballad. 
Venice  is  built  on  seventy-two  islands. 

"  There !  there's  a  brick  of  your  new  Babel !  and 
now,  sirrah !  what  say  you  to  the  sample  ? 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.   I  shall  write  again  by  and  by." 

LETTER  287.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  July  8.  1817 

"  If  you  can  convey  the  enclosed  letter  to  its 
address,  or  discover  the  person  to  whom  it  is  directed, 
you  will  confer  a  favour  upon  the  Venetian  creditor 
of  a  deceased  Englishman.  This  epistle  is  a  dun 
to  his  executor,  for  house-rent.  The  name  of  the 
insolvent  defunct  is,  or  was,  Porter  Valter,  according 
to  tl  e  account  of  the  plaintiff,  which  I  rather  suspect 
ought  to  be  Walter  Porter,  according  to  our  mode  of 
collocation.  If  you  are  acquainted  with  any  dead 
man  cf  the  like  name  a  good  deal  in  debt,  pray  dig 
him  up,  and  tell  him  that  *  a  pound  of  his  fair  flesh ' 
or  the  ducats  are  required,  and  that  '  if  you  deny 
them,  fie  upon  your  law  ! ' 

42  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

"  I  hear  nothing  more  from  you  about  Moore's 
poem,  Rogers,  or  other  literary  phenomena  ;  but  to- 
morrow, being  post-day,  will  bring  perhaps  some 
tidings.  I  write  to  you  with  people  talking  Venetian 
all  about,  so  that  you  must  not  expect  this  letter  to 
be  all  English. 

"  The  other  day,  I  had  a  squabble  on  the  highway, 
as  follows :  I  was  riding  pretty  quickly  from  Dolo 
home  about  eight  in  the  evening,  when  I  passed  a 
party  of  people  in  a  hired  carriage,  one  of  whom, 
poking  his  head  out  of  the  window,  began  bawling  to 
me  in  an  inarticulate  but  insolent  manner.  I  wheeled 
my  horse  round,  and  overtaking,  stopped  the  coach, 
and  said,  *  Signer,  have  you  any  commands  for  me?' 
He  replied,  impudently  as  to  manner,  *  No.'  I  then 
asked  him  what  he  meant  by  that  unseemly  noise,  to 
the  discomfiture  of  the  passers-by.  He  replied  by 
some  piece  of  impertinence,  to  which  I  answered  by 
giving  him  a  violent  slap  in  the  face.  I  then  dis- 
mounted, (for  this  passed  at  the  window,  I  being  on 
horseback  still,)  and  opening  the  door  desired  him  to 
walk  out,  or  I  would  give  him  another.  But  the  first 
had  settled  him  except  as  to  words,  of  which  he 
poured  forth  a  profusion  in  blasphemies,  swearing 
that  he  would  go  to  the  police  and  avouch  a  battery 
sans  provocation.  I  said  he  lied,  and  was  a  *  *,  and 
if  he  did  not  hold  his  tongue,  should  be  dragged  out 
and  beaten  anew.  He  then  held  his  tongue.  I  of 
course  told  him  my  name  and  residence,  and  defied 
him  to  the  death,  if  he  were  a  gentleman,  oc  not  a 
gentleman,  and  had  the  inclination  to  be  genteel  in 
the  way  of  combat.  He  went  to  the  police,  bat  there 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYROX.  43 

having  been  bystanders  in  the  road,  —  particularly  a 
soldier,  who  had  seen  the  business,  —  as  well  as  my 
servant,  notwithstanding  the  oaths  of  the  coachman 
and  five  insides  besides  the  plaintiff,  and  a  good  deal 
of  paying  on  all  sides,  his  complaint  was  dismissed, 
he  having  been  the  aggressor;  —  and  I  was  subse- 
quently informed  that,  had  I  not  given  him  a  blow,, 
he  might  have  been  had  into  durance. 

"  So  set  down  this, —  *  that  in  Aleppo  once  ?  I 
*  beat  a  Venetian ; '  but  I  assure  you  that  he  de- 
served it,  for  I  am  a  quiet  man,  like  Candide,  though 
with  somewhat  of  his  fortune  in  being  forced  to 
forego  my  natural  meekness  every  now  and  then. 
"  Yours,  &c.  B." 

LETTER  288.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Venice,  July  9.  1817. 

"  I  have  got  the  sketch  and  extracts  from  Lalla 
Ilookh.  The  plan,  as  well  as  the  extracts,  I  have 
seen,  please  me  very  much  indeed,  and  I  feel  impa- 
tient for  the  whole. 

"With  regard  to  the  critique  on  '  Manfred,'  you 
have  been  in  such  a  devil  of  a  hurry,  that  you  have 
only  sent  me  the  half:  it  breaks  oif  at  page  294. 
Send  me  the  rest ;  and  also  page  270.,  where  there 
is  (  an  account  of  the  supposed  origin  of  this  dread- 
ful story,'  —  in  which,  by  the  way,  whatever  it  may 
be,  the  conjecturer  is  out,  and  knows  nothing  of  the 
matter.  I  had  a  better  origin  than  he  can  devise  or 
divine,  for  the  soul  of  him. 

"  You  say  nothing  of  Manfred's  luck  in  the  world; 

44  NOTICES   OF    THE  1817. 

and  I  care  not.     He  is  one  of  the  best  of  my  misbe- 
gotten, say  what  they  will. 

"  I  got  at  last  an  extract,  but  no  parcels.  They 
will  come,  I  suppose,  some  time  or  other.  I  am  come 
up  to  Venice  for  a  day  or  two  to  bathe,  and  am  just 
going  to  take  a  swim  in  the  Adriatic ;  so,  good  even- 
ing —  the  post  waits.  Yours,  &c. 


"  P.  S.  Pray,  was  Manfred's  speech  to  the  Sun 
still  retained  in  Act  third  ?  I  hope  so  :  it  was  one 
of  the  best  in  the  thing,  and  better  than  the  Colos- 
seum. I  have  done  fifty-six  of  Canto  fourth, 
Childe  Harold ;  so  down  with  your  ducats." 

LETTER  289.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

«  La  Mira,  Venice,  July  10.  1817. 

"  Murray,  the  Mokanna  of  booksellers,  has  con- 
trived to  send  me  extracts  from  Lalla  Rookh  by  the 
post.  They  are  taken  from  some  magazine,  and 
contain  a  short  outline  and  quotations  from  the 
two  first  Poems.  I  am  very  much  delighted  with 
what  is  before  me,  and  very  thirsty  for  the  rest. 
You  have  caught  the  colours  as  if  you  had  been  in 
the  rainbow,  and  the  tone  of  the  East  is  perfectly 
preserved.  I  am  glad  you  have  changed  the  title 
from  *  Persian  Tale.' 

"  I  suspect  you  have  written  a  devilish  fine  com- 
position, and  1  rejoice  in  it  from  my  heart ;  because 
*  the  Douglas  and  the  Percy  both  together  are  con- 
fident against  a  world  in  arms/  I  hope  you  won't 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  45 

be  affronted  at  my  looking  on  us  as  *  birds  of  a 
feather;'  though  on  whatever  subject  you  had 
written,  I  should  have  been  very  happy  in  your  suc- 

"  There  is  a  simile  of  an  orange-tree's  *  flowers 
and  fruits/  which  I  should  have  liked  better  if  I  did 
not  believe  it  to  be  a  reflection  on  *  *  *. 

"  Do  you  remember  Thurlow's  poem  to  Sam  — 
*  When  Rogers  ;'  and  that  d — d  supper  of  Rancliffe's 
that  ought  to  have  been  a  dinner  ?  *  Ah,  Master 
Shallow,  we  have  heard  the  chimes  at  midnight.' 

"  My  boat  is  on  the  shore, 

And  my  bark  is  on  the  sea ; 
But,  before  I  go,  Tom  Moore, 
Here's  a  double  health  to  thee ! 

"  Here's  a  sigh  to  those  who  love  me, 

And  a  smile  to  those  who  hate  ; 
And  whatever  sky's  above  me, 
Here's  a  heart  for  every  fate. 

"  Though  the  ocean  roar  around  me, 

Yet  it  still  shall  bear  me  on  ; 
Though  a  desert  should  surround  me, 
It  hath  springs  that  may  be  won. 

"  Were't  the  last  drop  in  the  well, 

As  I  gasp'd  upon  the  brink, 
Ere  my  fainting  spirit  fell, 

'Tis  to  thee  that  I  would  drink. 

"  With  that  water,  as  this  wine, 
The  libation  I  would  pour, 
Should  be  —  peace  with  thine  and  mine, 
And  a  health  to  thee,  Tom  Moore. 

46  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

"  This  should  have  been  written  fifteen  moons  ago 
• —  the  first  stanza  was.  I  am  just  come  out  from  an 
hour's  swim  in  the  Adriatic ;  and  I  write  to  you 
with  a  black-eyed  Venetian  girl  before  me,  reading 

"  Last  week  I  had  a  row  on  the  road  (I  came  up 
to  Venice  from  my  casino,  a  few  miles  on  the  Pa- 
duan  road,  this  blessed  day,  to  bathe)  with  a  fellow 
in  a  carriage,  who  was  impudent  to  my  horse.  I 
gave  him  a  swingeing  box  on  the  ear,  which  sent 
him  to  the  police,  who  dismissed  his  complaint. 
Witnesses  had  seen  the  transaction.  He  first  shout- 
ed, in  an  unseemly  way,  to  frighten  my  palfry.  I 
wheeled  round,  rode  up  to  the  window,  and  asked 
him  what  he  meant.  He  grinned,  and  said  some 
foolery,  which  produced  him  an  immediate  slap  in 
the  face,  to  his  utter  discomfiture.  Much  blas- 
phemy ensued,  and  some  menace,  which  I  stopped 
by  dismounting  and  opening  the  carriage  door,  and 
intimating  an  intention  of  mending  the  road  with 
his  immediate  remains,  if  he  did  not  hold  his  tongue. 
He  held  it. 

"  Monk  Lewis  is  here  —  *  how  pleasant!'*  He 
is  a  very  good  fellow,  and  very  much  yours.  So  is 
Sam  —  so  is  every  body  —  and  amongst  the  number, 

"  Yours  ever, 


"  P.  S.  What  think  you  of  Manfred?" 

*  An  allusion  (such  as  often  occurs  in  these  letters)  to  an 
anecdote  with  which  he  had  been  amused. 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  47 

LETTER  290.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  July  15.  1817. 

"  I  have  finished  (that  is,  written — the  file  comes 
afterwards)  ninety  and  eight  stanzas  of  the  fourth 
Canto,  which  I  mean  to  be  the  concluding  one.  It 
will  probably  be  about  the  same  length  as  the  third, 
being  already  of  the  dimensions  of  the  first  or  second 
Cantos.  I  look  upon  parts  of  it  as  very  good,  that 
is,  if  the  three  former  are  good,  but  this  we  shall 
see ;  and  at  any  rate,  good  or  not,  it  is  rather  a  dif- 
ferent style  from  the  last  —  less  metaphysical  — 
which,  at  any  rate,  will  be  a  variety.  I  sent  you  the 
shaft  of  the  column  as  a  specimen  the  other  day,  i.  e. 
the  first  stanza.  So  you  may  be  thinking  of  its  ar- 
rival towards  autumn,  whose  winds  will  not  be  the 
only  ones  to  be  raised,  if  so  be  as  how  that  it  is  ready 
by  that  time. 

"I  lent  Lewis,  who  is  at  Venice,  (in  or  on  the  Canal- 
accio,  the  Grand  Canal,)  your  extracts  from  Lalla 
Rookh  and  Manuel  *,  and,  out  of  contradiction,  it 
may  be,  he  likes  the  last,  and  is  not  much  taken  with 
the  first,  of  these  performances.  Of  Manuel,  I  think, 
with  the  exception  of  a  few  capers,  it  is  as  heavy  a 
nightmare  as  was  ever  bestrode  by  indigestion. 

"  Of  the  extracts  I  can  but  judge  as  extracts, 
and  I  prefer  the  « Peri '  to  the  '  Silver  Veil.'  He 
seems  not  so  much  at  home  in  his  versification  of  the 
*  Silver  Veil,'  and  a  little  embarrassed  with  his 
horrors  ;  but  the  conception  of  the  character  of  the 

*  A  tragedy,  by  the  Rev.  Mr.  Maturin.     . 

4-3  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

impostor  is  fine,  and  the  plan  of  great  scope  for  his 
genius,  —  and  I  doubt  not  that,  as  a  whole,  it  will 
be  very  Arabesque  and  beautiful. 

"  Your  late  epistle  is  not  the  most  abundant  in  in- 
formation, and  has  not  yet  been  succeeded  by  any 
other ;  so  that  I  know  nothing  of  your  own  concerns, 
or  of  any  concerns,  and  as  I  never  hear  from  any  body 
but  yourself  who  does  not  tell  me  something  as  dis- 
agreeable as  possible,  I  should  not  be  sorry  to  hear 
from  you :  and  as  it  is  not  very  probable,  —  if  I  can, 
by  any  device  or  possible  arrangement  with  regard 
to  my  persorial  affairs,  so  arrange  it,  —  that  I  shall 
return  soon,  or  reside  ever  in  England,  all  that  you 
tell  me  will  be  all  I  shall  know  or  enquire  after,  as 
to  our  beloved  realm  of  Grub  Street,  and  the  black 
brethren  and  blue  sisterhood  of  that  extensive 
suburb  of  Babylon.  Have  you  had  no  new  babe  of 
literature  sprung  up  to  replace  the  dead,  the  distant, 
the  tired,  and  the  retired  ?  no  prose,  no  verse,  no 

LETTER  291.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  July  20.  1817. 

"  I  write  to  give  you  notice  that  I  have  completed 
tine  fourth  and  ultimate  Canto  of  Childe  Harold.  It 
consists  of  126  stanzas,  and  is  consequently  the 
longest  of  the  four.  It  is  yet  to  be  copied  and 
polished ;  and  the  notes  are  to  come,  of  which  it 
will  require  more  than  the  third  Canto,  as  it  neces- 
sarily treats  more  of  works  of  art  than  of  nature.  It 
shall  be  sent  towards  autumn;  —  and  now  for  our 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  49 

barter.  What  do  you  bid?  eh?  you  shall  have, 
samples,  an'  it  so  please  you:  but  I  wish  to  know 
what  I  am  to  expect  (as  the  saying  is)  in  these  hard 
times,  when  poetry  does  not  let  for  half  its  value. 
If  you  are  disposed  to  do  what  Mrs.  Winifred  Jenkins 
calls  *  the  handsome  thing,'  I  may  perhaps  throw  you 
some  odd  matters  to  the  lot, — translations,  or  slight 
originals;  there  is  no  saying  what  may  be  on  the 
anvil  between  this  and  the  booking  season.  Recol- 
lect that  it  is  the  last  Canto,  and  completes  the  work ; 
whether  as  good  as  the  others,  I  cannot  judge,  in 
course — least  of  all  as  yet, — but  it  shall  be  as  little 
worse  as  I  can  help.  I  may,  perhaps,  give  some 
little  gossip  in  the  notes  as  to  the  present  state  of 
Italian  literati  and  literature,  being  acquainted  with 
some  of  their  capi  —  men  as  well  as  books ;  —  but 
this  depends  upon  my  humour  at  the  time.  So,  now, 
pronounce :  I  say  nothing. 

"  When  you  have  got  the  whole  four  Cantos,  I 
think  you  might  venture  on  an  edition  of  the  whole 
poem  in  quarto,  with  spare  copies  of  the  two  last  for 
the  purchasers  of  the  old  edition  of  the  first  two. 
There  is  a  hint  for  you,  worthy  of  the  Row ;  and 
now,  perpend  — -  pronounce. 

"  I  have  not  received  a  word  from  you  of  the  fate 
of  *  Manfred'  or  *  Tasso,'  which  seems  to  me  odd, 
whether  they  have  failed  or  succeeded. 

"  As  this  is  a  scrawl  of  business,  arid  I  have  lately 
written  at  length  and  often  on  other  subjects,  I  will 
only  add  that  I  am,"  &c. 

VOL.  IV. 

50  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

LETTER  292.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  August  7.  1817 
"  Your  letter  of  the  18th,  and,  what  will  please 
you,  as  it  did  me,  the  parcel  sent  by  the  good-natured 
aid  and  abetment  of  Mr.  Croker,  are  arrived.  — 
Messrs.  Lewis  and  Hobhouse  are  here :  the  former 
in  the  same  house,  the  latter  a  few  hundred  yards 

"  You  say  nothing  of  Manfred,  from  which  its 
failure  may  be  inferred;  but  I  think  it  odd  you 
should  not  say  so  at  once.  I  know  nothing,  and 
hear  absolutely  nothing,  of  any  body  or  any  thing  in 
England ;  and  there  are  no  English  papers,  so  that 
all  you  say  will  be  news  —  of  any  person,  or  thing, 
or  things.  I  am  at  present  very  anxious  about 
Newstead,  and  sorry  that  Kinnaird  is  leaving 
England  at  this  minute,  though  I  do  not  tell  him  so, 
and  would  rather  he  should  have  his  pleasure, 
although  it  may  not  in  this  instance  tend  to  my 

"  If  I  understand  rightly,  you  have  paid  into  Mor- 
land's  1500 pounds:  as  the  agreement  in  the  paper 
is  two  thousand  guineas,  there  will  remain  therefore 
six  hundred  pounds,  and  not  five  hundred,  the  odd 
hundred  being  the  extra  to  make  up  the  specie. 
Six  hundred  and  thirty  pounds  will  bring  it  to  the 
like  for  Manfred  and  Tasso,  making  a  total  of 
twelve  hundred  and  thirty,  I  believe,  for  I  am  not  a 
good  calculator.  I  do  not  wish  to  press  you,  but  I 
tell  you  fairly  that  it  will  be  a  convenience  to  me  to 




have  it  paid  as  soon  as  it  can  be  made  convenient  to 

"  The  new  and  last  Canto  is  130  stanzas  in  length  ; 
and  may  be  made  more  or  less.  I  have  fixed  no 
price,  even  in  idea,  and  have  no  notion  of  what  it 
may  be  good  for.  There  are  no  metaphysics  in  it ; 
at  least,  I  think  not.  Mr.  Hobhouse  has  promised 
me  a  copy  of  Tasso's  Will,  for  notes  ;  and  I  have 
some  curious  things  to  say  about  Ferrara,  and 
Parisina's  story,  and  perhaps  a  farthing  candle's 
worth  of  light  upon  the  present  state  of  Italian 
literature.  I  shall  hardly  be  ready  by  October ;  but 
that  don't  matter.  I  have  all  to  copy  and  correct, 
and  the  notes  to  write. 

"  1  do  not  know  whether  Scott  will  like  it ;  but  I 
have  called  him  the  *  Ariosto  of  the  North'  in  my 
text.  If  he  should  not,  say  so  in  time. 

"  An  Italian  translation  of'  Glenarvon'  came  lately 
to  be  printed  at  Venice.  The  censor  (Sr.  Petrotini) 
refused  to  sanction  the  publication  till  he  had  seen 
me  on  the  subject.  I  told  him  that  I  did  not  recog- 
nise the  slightest  relation  between  that  book  and 
myself;  but  that,  whatever  opinions  might  be  upon 
that  subject,  /would  never  prevent  or  oppose  the 
publication  of  any  book,  in  any  language,  on  my  own 
private  account ;  and  desired  him  (against  his  incli- 
nation) to  permit  the  poor  translator  to  publish  his 
labours.  It  is  going  forwards  in  consequence.  You 
may  say  this,  with  my  compliments,  to  the  author. 

"  Yours. " 

E  2 

52  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

LETTER  293.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  August  12.  1817. 

"  I  have  been  very  sorry  to  hear  of  the  death  of 
Madame  de  Stael,  not  only  because  she  had  been 
very  kind  to  me  at  Copet,  but  because  now  I  can 
never  requite  her.  In  a  general  point  of  view,  she 
will  leave  a  great  gap  in  society  and  literature. 

"  With  regard  to  death,  I  doubt  that  we  have  any 
right  to  pity  the  dead  for  their  own  sakes. 

"  The  copies  of  Manfred  and  Tasso  are  arrived, 
thanks  to  Mr.  Croker's  cover.  You  have  destroyed 
the  whole  effect  and  moral  of  the  poem  by  omitting 
the  last  line  of  Manfred's  speaking ;  and  why  this 
was  done,  I  know  not.  Why  you  persist  in  saying 
nothing  of  the  thing  itself,  I  am  equally  at  a  loss  to 
conjecture.  If  it  is  for  fear  of  telling  me  something 
disagreeable,  you  are  wrong ;  because  sooner  or  later 
I  must  know  it,  and  I  am  not  so  new,  nor  so  raw,  nor 
so  inexperienced,  as  not  to  be  able  to  bear,  not  the 
mere  paltry,  petty  disappointments  of  authorship, 
but  things  more  serious,  —  at  least  I  hope  so,  and 
that  what  you  may  think  irritability  is  merely 
mechanical,  and  only  acts  like  galvanism  on  a 
dead  body,  or  the  muscular  motion  which  survives 

"  If  it  is  that  you  are  out  of  humour,  because  I 
wrote  to  you  a  sharp  letter,  recollect  that  it  was 
partly  from  a  misconception  of  your  letter,  and 
partly  because  you  did  a  thing  you  had  no  right  to 
do  without  consulting  me. 

"  I  have,  however,  heard  good  of  Manfred  from 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  53 

two  other  quarters,  and  from  men  who  would  not  be 
scrupulous  in  saying  what  they  thought,  or  what  was 
said ;  and  so  «  good  morrow  to  you,  good  Master 

"  I  wrote  to  you  twice  about  the  fourth  Canto, 
which  you  will  answer  at  your  pleasure.  Mr.  Hob- 
house  and  I  have  come  up  for  a  day  to  the  city ; 
Mr.  Lewis  is  gone  to  England ;  and  I  am 

"  Yours." 

LETTER  294.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  La  Mira,  near  Venice,  August  21.  1817. 
"  I  take  you  at  your  word  about  Mr.  Hanson,  and 
will  feel  obliged  if  you  will  go  to  him,  and  request 
Mr.  Davies  also  to  visit  him  by  my  desire,  and  repeat 
that  I  trust  that  neither  Mr.  Kinnaird's  absence  nor 
mine  will  prevent  his  taking  all  proper  steps  to  ac- 
celerate  and   promote  the  sale  of  Newstead   and 
Rochdale,  upon  which  the  whole  of  my  future  per- 
sonal comfort  depends.     It  is  impossible  for  me  to 
express  how  much  any  delays  upon  these  points 
would   inconvenience  me;    and  I  do  not  know  a 
greater  obligation  that  can  be  conferred  upon  me 
than  the  pressing  these  things  upon  Hanson,  and 
making  him  act  according  to  my  wishes.      I  wish 
you  would  speak  out,  at  least  to  me,  and  tell  me 
what  you  allude  to  by  your  cold  way  of  mentioning 
him.      All   mysteries   at  such  a  distance  are  not 
merely  tormenting  but  mischievous,   and  may  be 
prejudicial  to  my  interests ;  so,  pray  expound,  that 
I  may  consult  with  Mr.  Kinnaird  when  he  arrives  ; 
E  3 

54-  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

and  remember  that  I  prefer  the  most  disagreeable 
certainties  to  hints  and  innuendoes.  The  devil  take 
every  body  :  I  never  can  get  any  person  to  be  ex- 
plicit about  any  thing  or  any  body,  and  my  whole 
life  is  passed  in  conjectures  of  what  people  mean : 
you  all  talk  in  the  style  of  C  *  *  L  *  *'s  novels. 

"  It  is  not  Mr.  St.  John,  but  Mr.  St.  Auhyn>  son 
of  Sir  John  St.  Aubyn.  Polidori  knows  him,  and 
introduced  him  to  me.  He  is  of  Oxford,  and  has 
got  my  parcel.  The  Doctor  will  ferret  him  out,  or 
ought.  The  parcel  contains  many  letters,  some  of 
Madame  de  Stael's,  and  other  people's,  besides  MSS., 

&c.  By ,  if  I  find  the  gentleman,  and  he  don't 

find  the  parcel,  I  will  say  something  he  won't  like 
to  hear. 

"  You  want  a  '  civil  and  delicate  declension '  for 
the  medical  tragedy  ?  Take  it  — 

"  Dear  Doctor,  I  have  read  your  play, 
Which  is  a  good  one  in  its  way,  — 
Purges  the  eyes  and  moves  the  bowels, 
And  drenches  handkerchiefs  like  towels 
With  tears,  that,  in  a  flux  of  grief, 
Afford  hysterical  relief 
To  shatter'd  nerves  and  quicken'd  pulses, 
Which  your  catastrophe  convulses. 

"  I  like  your  moral  and  machinery  ; 
Your  plot,  too,  has  such  scope  for  scenery  I 
Your  dialogue  is  apt  and  smart ; 
The  play's  concoction  full  of  art ; 
Your  hero  raves,  your  heroine  cries, 
All  stab,  and  every  body  dies. 
In  short,  your  tragedy  would  be 
The  very  thing  to  hear  and  see  : 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYROX.  55 

And  for  a  piece  of  publication, 

If  I  decline  on  this  occasion, 

It  is  not  that  I  am  not  sensible 

To  merits  in  themselves  ostensible, 

But  —  and  I  grieve  to  speak  it  —  plays 

Are  drugs,  mere  drugs,  sir  —  now-a-days. 

I  had  a  heavy  loss  by  '  Manuel,'  — 

Too  lucky  if  it  prove  not  annual,  — 

And  S  *  *,  with  his  <  Orestes,' 

(Which,  by  the  by,  the  author's  best  is,) 

Has  lain  so  very  long  on  hand 

That  I  despair  of  all  demand. 

I've  advertised,  but  see  my  books, 

Or  only  watch  my  shopman's  looks ;  — 

Still  Ivan,  Ina,  and  such  lumber, 

My  back-shop  glut,  my  shelves  encumber. 

"  There's  Byron  too,  who  once  did  better, 
Has  sent  me,  folded  in  a  letter, 
A  sort  of —  it's  no  more  a  drama 
Than  Darnley,  Ivan,  or  Kehama; 
So  alter'd  since  last  year  his  pen  is, 
I  think  he's  lost  his  wits  at  Venice. 
In  short,  sir,  what  with  one  and  t'other, 
I  dare  not  venture  on  another. 
I  write  in  haste  ;  excuse  each  blunder  ; 
The  coaches  through  the  street  so  thunder ! 
My  room's  so  full  —  we've  Gifford  here 
Reading  MS.,  with  Hookham  Frere, 
Pronouncing  on  the  nouns  and  particles 
Of  some  of  our  forthcoming  Articles. 

"  The  Quarterly  —  Ah,  sir,  if  you 
Had  but  the  genius  to  review  !  — 
A  smart  critique  upon  St.  Helena, 
Or  if  you  only  would  but  tell  in  a 

Short  compass  what but,  to  resume  : 

As  I  was  saying,  sir,  the  room  — 
E   4 

56  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

The  room 's  so  full  of  wits  and  bards, 

Crabbes,  Campbells,  Crokers,  Freres,  and  Wards, 

And  others,  neither  bards  nor  wits  :  — 

My  humble  tenement  admits 

All  persons  in  the  dress  of  gent., 

From  Mr.  Hammond  to  Dog  Dent. 

"  A  party  dines  with  me  to-day, 
All  clever  men,  who  make  their  way ; 
They  're  at  this  moment  in  discussion 
On  poor  De  Stael's  late  dissolution. 
Her  book,  they  say,  was  in  advance  — 
Pray  Heaven,  she  tell  the  truth  of  France  ! 

"  Thus  run  our  time  and  tongues  away. — 
But,  to  return,  sir,  to  your  play  : 
Sorry,  sir,  but  I  cannot  deal, 
Unless  'twere  acted  by  O'Neill. 
My  hands  so  full,  my  head  so  busy, 
I  'm  almost  dead,  and  always  dizzy ; 
And  so,  with  endless  truth  and  hurry, 
Dear  Doctor,  I  am  yours, 


"  P.S.  I've  done  the  fourth  arid  last  Canto,  which 
amounts  to  133  stanzas.  I  desire  you  to  name  a 
price ;  if  you  don't,  /will ;  so  I  advise  you  in  time. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  There  will  be  a  good  many  notes." 

Among  those  minor  misrepresentations  of  which 
it  was  Lord  Byron's  fate  to  be  the  victim,  advantage 
was,  at  this  time,  taken  of  his  professed  distaste  to 
the  English,  to  accuse  him  of  acts  of  inhospitality, 
and  even  rudeness,  towards  some  of  his  fellow- 
countrymen.  How  far  different  was  his  treatment 
of  all  who  ever  visited  him,  many  grateful  testimonies 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  57 

might  be  collected  to  prove ;  but  I  shall  here  con- 
tent myself  with  selecting  a  few  extracts  from  an 
account  given  me  by  Mr.  Henry  Joy  of  a  visit  which, 
in  company  with  another  English  gentleman,  he  paid 
to  the  noble  poet  this  summer,  at  his  villa  on  the 
banks  of  the  Brenta.  After  mentioning  the  various 
civilities  they  had  experienced  from  Lord  Byron ; 
and,  among  others,  his  having  requested  them  to 
name  their  own  day  for  dining  with  him,  —  "  We 
availed  ourselves,"  says  Mr.  Joy,  "  of  this  considerate 
courtesy  by  naming  the  day  fixed  for  our  return  to 
Padua,  when  our  route  would  lead  us  to  his  door ; 
and  we  were  welcomed  with  all  the  cordiality  which 
was  to  be  expected  from  so  friendly  a  bidding. 
Such  traits  of  kindness  in  such  a  man  deserve  to 
be  recorded  on  account  of  the  numerous  slanders 
thrown  upon  him  by  some  of  the  tribes  of  tourists, 
who  resented,  as  a  personal  affront,  his  resolution  to 
avoid  their  impertinent  inroads  upon  his  retirement. 
So  far  from  any  appearance  of  indiscriminate  aver- 
sion to  his  countrymen, his  enquiries  about  his  friends 
in  England  (quorum  pars  magna  fuisti)  were  most 
anxious  and  particular. 

"  He  expressed  some  opinions,"  continues  my 
informant,  "  on  matters  of  taste,  which  cannot  fail 
to  interest  his  biographer.  He  contended  that 
Sculpture,  as  an  art,  was  vastly  superior  to  Paint- 
ing ;  —  a  preference  which  is  strikingly  illustrated 
by  the  fact  that,  in  the  fourth  Canto  of  Childe 
Harold,  he  gives  the  most  elaborate  and  splendid 
account  of  several  statues,  and  none  of  any  pictures ; 
although  Italy  is,  emphatically,  the  land  of  painting, 

58  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

and  her  best  statues  are  derived  from  Greece.  By 
the  way,  he  told  us  that  there  were  more  objects  of 
interest  in  Rome  alone  than  in  all  Greece  from  one 
extremity  to  the  other.  After  regaling  us  with  an 
excellent  dinner,  (in  which,  by  the  by,  a  very  English 
joint  of  roast  beef  showed  that  he  did  not  extend 
his  antipathies  to  all  John-Bullisms,)  he  took  me  in 
his  carriage  some  miles  of  our  route  towards  Padua, 
after  apologising  to  my  fellow-traveller  for  the 
separation,  on  the  score  of  his  anxiety  to  hear  all 
he  could  of  his  friends  in  England ;  and  I  quitted 
him  with  a  confirmed  impression  of  the  strong  ardour 
and  sincerity  of  his  attachment  to  those  by  whom 
he  did  not  fancy  himself  slighted  or  ill  treated." 

LETTER  295.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Sept.  4.  1817. 

"  Your  letter  of  the  15th  has  conveyed  with  its 
contents  the  impression  of  a  seal,  to  which  the 
'  Saracen's  Head '  is  a  seraph,  and  the  *  Bull  and 
Mouth '  a  delicate  device.  I  knew  that  calumny  had 
sufficiently  blackened  me  of  later  days,  but  not  that 
it  had  given  the  features  as  well  as  complexion  of 
a  negro.  Poor  Augusta  is  not  less,  but  rather  more, 
shocked  than  myself,  and  says  *  people  seem  to 
have  lost  their  recollection  strangely '  when  they 
engraved  such  a  '  blackamoor.'  Pray  don't  seal  (at 
least  to  me)  with  such  a  caricature  of  the  human 
numskull  altogether ;  and  if  you  don't  break  the 
seal-cutter's  head,  at  least  crack  his  libel  (or  likeness, 
if  it  should  be  a  likeness)  of  mine. 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  59 

"  Mr.  Kinnaird  is  not  yet  arrived,  but  expected. 
He  has  lost  by  the  way  all  the  tooth-powder,  as  a 
letter  from  Spa  informs  me. 

"  By  Mr.  Rose  I  received  safely,  though  tardily, 
magnesia  and  tooth-powder,  and  *  *  *  *.  Why  do 
you  send  me  such  trash  —  worse  than  trash,  the 
Sublime  of  Mediocrity  ?  Thanks  for  Lalla,  however, 
which  is  good ;  and  thanks  for  the  Edinburgh  and 
Quarterly,  both  very  amusing  and  well-written. 
Paris  in  1815,  &c.  —  good.  Modern  Greece  —  good 
for  nothing;  written  by  some  one  who  has  never 
been  there,  and  not  being  able  to  manage  the 
Spenser  stanza,  has  invented  a  thing  of  his  own, 
consisting  of  two  elegiac  stanzas,  an  heroic  line,  and 
an  Alexandrine,  twisted  on  a  string.  Besides,  why 
*  modern  ? '  You  may  say  modern  Greeks,  but  surely 
Greece  itself  is  rather  more  ancient  than  ever  it  was. 
Now  for  business. 

"  You  offer  1500  guineas  for  the  new  Canto:  I 
won't  take  it.  I  ask  two  thousand  five  hundred 
guineas  for  it,  which  you  will  either  give  or  not,  as 
you  think  proper.  It  concludes  the  poem,  and  con- 
sists of  144  stanzas.  The  notes  are  numerous,  and 
chiefly  written  by  Mr.  Hobhouse,  whose  researches 
have  been  indefatigable;  and  who,  I  will  venture 
to  say,  has  more  real  knowledge  of  Rome  and  its 
environs  than  any  Englishman  who  has  been  there 
since  Gibbon.  By  the  way,  to  prevent  any  mis- 
takes, I  think  it  necessary  to  state  the  fact  that  he, 
Mr.  Hobhouse,  has  no  interest  whatever  in  the  price 
or  profit  to  be  derived  from  the  copyright  of  either 
poem  or  notes  directly  or  indirectly ;  so  that  you 

60  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

are  not  to  suppose  that  it  is  by,  for,  or  through  him, 
that  I  require  more  for  this  Canto  than  the  pre- 
ceding. —  No :  but  if  Mr.  Eustace  was  to  have  had 
two  thousand  for  a  poem  on  Education;  if  Mr. 
Moore  is  to  have  three  thousand  for  Lalla,  &c.  ;  if 
Mr.  Campbell  is  to  have  three  thousand  for  his  prose 
on  poetry  —  I  don't  mean  to  disparage  these  gentle- 
men in  their  labours  —  but  I  ask  the  aforesaid  price 
for  mine.  You  will  tell  me  that  their  productions 
are  considerably  longer:  very  true,  and  when  they 
shorten  them,  I  will  lengthen  mine,  and  ask  less. 
You  shall  submit  the  MS.  to  Mr.  Gifford,  and  any 
other  two  gentlemen  to  be  named  by  you,  (Mr. 
Frere,  or  Mr.  Croker,  or  whomever  you  please,  ex- 
cept such  fellows  as  your  *  *  s  and  *  *  s,)  and  if 
they  pronounce  this  Canto  to  be  inferior  as  a  whole 
to  the  preceding,  I  will  not  appeal  from  their  award, 
but  burn  the  manuscript,  and  leave  things  as  they 
are.  Yours  very  truly. 

"  P.  S.  In  answer  to  a  former  letter,  I  sent  you 
a  short  statement  of  what  I  thought  the  state  of  our 
present  copyright  account,  viz.  six  hundred  pounds 
still  (or  lately)  due  on  Childe  Harold,  and  six  hun- 
dred guineas,  Manfred  and  Tasso,  making  a  total  of 
twelve  hundred  and  thirty  pounds.  If  we  agree 
about  the  new  poem,  I  shall  take  the  liberty  to 
reserve  the  choice  of  the  manner  in  which  it  should 
be  published,  viz.  a  quarto,  certes." 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  61 

LETTER  296.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  La  Mira,  Sept.  12.  1817. 

"  I  set  out  yesterday  morning  with  the  intention 
of  paying  my  respects,  and  availing  myself  of  your 
permission  to  walk  over  the  premises.*  On  arriving 
at  Padua,  I  found  that  the  march  of  the  Austrian 
troops  had  engrossed  so  many  horses  f,  that  those  I 
could  procure  were  hardly  able  to  crawl ;  and  their 
weakness,  together  with  the  prospect  of  finding  none 
at  all  at  the  post-house  of  Monselice,  and  consequently 
either  not  arriving  that  day  at  Este,  or  so  late  as  to 
be  unable  to  return  home  the  same  evening,  induced 
me  to  turn  aside  in  a  second  visit  to  Arqua,  instead 
of  proceeding  onwards ;  and  even  thus  I  hardly  got 
back  in  time. 

"  Next  week  I  shall  be  obliged  to  be  in  Venice  to 
meet  Lord  Kinnaird  and  his  brother,  who  are 

*  A  country-house  on  the  Euganean  hills,  near  Este,  which 
Mr.  Hoppner,  who  was  then  the  English  Consul- General  at 
Venice,  had  for  some  time  occupied,  and  which  Lord  Byron 
afterwards  rented  of  him,  but  never  resided  in  it. 

f  So  great  was  the  demand  for  horses,  on  the  line  of  march 
of  the  Austrians,  that  all  those  belonging  to  private  individuals 
were  put  in  requisition  for  their  use,  and  Lord  Byron  himself 
received  an  order  to  send  his  for  the  same  purpose.  This, 
however,  he  positively  refused  to  do,  adding,  that  if  an  attempt 
were  made  to  take  them  by  force,  he  would  shoot  them  through 
the  head  in  the  middle  of  the  road,  rather  than  submit  to  such 
an  act  of  tyranny  upon  a  foreigner  who  was  merely  a  tempo- 
rary resident  in  the  country.  Whether  his  answer  was  ever 
reported  to  the  higher  authorities  I  know  not ;  but  his  horses 
were  suffered  to  remain  unmolested  in  his  stables. 

62  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

expected  in  a  few  days.  And  this  interruption, 
together  with  that  occasioned  by  the  continued 
march  of  the  Austrians  for  the  next  few  days,  will 
not  allow  me  to  fix  any  precise  period  for  availing 
myself  of  your  kindness,  though  I  should  wish  to 
take  the  earliest  opportunity.  Perhaps,  if  absent, 
you  will  have  the  goodness  to  permit  one  of  your 
servants  to  show  me  the  grounds  and  house,  or  as 
much  of  either  as  may  be  convenient ;  at  any  rate,  I 
shall  take  the  first  occasion  possible  to  go  over,  and 
regret  very  much  that  I  was  yesterday  prevented. 
"  I  have  the  honour  to  be  your  obliged, "  &c. 

LETTER  297.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  September  15.  1817. 

"  I  enclose  a  sheet  for  correction,  if  ever  you  get 
to  another  edition.  You  will  observe  that  the 
blunder  in  printing  makes  it  appear  as  if  the 
Chateau  was  over  St.  Gingo,  instead  of  being  on  the 
opposite  shore  of  the  Lake,  over  Clarens.  So, 
separate  the  paragraphs,  otherwise  my  topography 
will  seem  as  inaccurate  as  your  typography  on  this 

"  The  other  day  I  wrote  to  convey  my  proposition 
with  regard  to  the  fourth  and  concluding  Canto.  I 
have  gone  over  and  extended  it  to  one  hundred  and 
fifty  stanzas,  which  is  almost  as  long  as  the  two  first 
were  originally,  and  longer  by  itself  than  any  of  the 
smaller  poems  except '  The  Corsair.'  Mr.  Hobhouse 
has  made  some  very  valuable  and  accurate  notes  of 
considerable  length,  and  you  may  be  sure  that  I  will 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  63 

do  for  the  text  all  that  I  can  to  finish  with  decency. 
I  look  upon  Childe  Harold  as  my  best ;  -and  as  I 
begun,  I  think  of  concluding  with  it.  But  I  make 
no  resolutions  on  that  head,  as  I  broke  my  former 
intention  with  regard  to  '  The  Corsair.'  However, 
I  fear  that  I  shall  never  do  better;  and  yet,  not 
being  thirty  years  of  age,  for  some  moons  to  come, 
one  ought  to  be  progressive  as  far  as  intellect  goes  for 
many  a  good  year.  But  I  have  had  a  devilish  deal 
of  tear  and  wear  of  mind  and  body  in  my  time, 
besides  having  published  too  often  and  much  already. 
God  grant  me  some  judgment  to  do  what  may  be 
most  fitting  in  that  and  every  thing  else,  for  I  doubt 
my  own  exceedingly. 

"  I  have  read  '  Lalla  Rookh,'  but  not  with 
sufficient  attention  yet,  for  I  ride  about,  and  lounge, 
and  ponder,  and  —  two  or  three  other  things ;  so 
that  my  reading  is  very  desultory,  and  not  so 
attentive  as  it  used  to  be.  I  am  very  glad  to  hear  of 
its  popularity,  for  Moore  is  a  very  noble  fellow  in  all 
respects,  and  will  enjoy  it  without  any  of  the  bad 
feelings  which  success — good  or  evil  —  sometimes 
engenders  in  the  men  of  rhyme.  Of  the  poem, 
itself,  I  will  tell  you  my  opinion  when  I  have  mas- 
tered it :  I  say  of  the  poem,  for  I  don't  like  the 
prose  at  all ;  and  in  the  mean  time,  the  *  Fire-wor- 
shippers '  is  the  best,  and  the  *  Veiled  Prophet '  the 
worst,  of  the  volume. 

"  With  regard  to  poetry  in  general*,  I  am  con- 

*  On  this  paragraph,  in  the  MS.  copy  of  the  above  letter,  I 
find  the  following  note,  in  the  handwriting  of  Mr.  Gifford  :  — - 

64-  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

vinced,  the  more  I  think  of  it,  that  he  and  all  of  us 
—  Scott,  Southey,  Wordsworth,  Moore,  Campbell, 
I, — are  all  in  the  wrong,  one  as  much  as  another; 
that  we  are  upon  a  wrong  revolutionary  poetical 
system,  or  systems,  not  worth  a  damn  in  itself,  and 
from  which  none  but  Uogers  and  Crabbe  are  free ; 
and  that  the  present  and  next  generations  will 
finally  be  of  this  opinion.  I  am  the  more  confirmed 
in  this  by  having  lately  gone  over  some  of  our 
classics,  particularly  Pope,  whom  I  tried  in  this  way, 
— I  took  Moore's  poems  and  my  own  and  some 
others,  and  went  over  them  side  by  side  with  Pope's, 
and  I  was  really  astonished  (I  ought  not  to  have 
been  so)  and  mortified  at  the  ineffable  distance  in 
point  of  sense,  learning,  effect,  and  even  imagination, 
passion,  and  invention,  between  the  little  Queen 
Anne's  man,  and  us  of  the  Lower  Empire.  Depend 
upon  it,  it  is  all  Horace  then,  and  Claudian  now, 
among  us;  and  if  I  had  to  begin  again,  I  would 
mould  myself  accordingly.  Crabbe's  the  man,  but 
he  has  got  a  coarse  and  impracticable  subject,  and 
*  *  *  is  retired  upon  half-pay,  and  has  done  enough, 
unless  he  were  to  do  as  he  did  formerly." 

LETTER  298.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  September  17.  1817. 

"  Mr.  Hobhouse  purposes  being  in  England  in 
November;  he  will  bring  the  fourth  Canto  with 

"  There  is  more  good  sense,  and  feeling,  and  judgment  in  this 
passage,  than  in  any  other  I  ever  read,  or  Lord  Byron  wrote. " 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  65 

him,  notes  and  all ;  the  text  contains  one  hundred 
and  fifty  stanzas,  which  is  long  for  that  measure. 

"  With  regard  to  the  <  Ariosto  of  the  North/ 
surely  their  themes,  chivalry,  war,  and  love,  were 
as  like  as  can  be ;  and  as  to  the  compliment,  if  you 
knew  what  the  Italians  think  of  Ariosto,  you  would 
not  hesitate  about  that.  But  as  to  their  « measures/ 
you  forget  that  Ariosto's  is  an  octave  stanza,  and 
Scott's  any  thing  but  a  stanza.  If  you  think  Scott 
will  dislike  it,  say  so,  and  I  will  expunge.  I  do  not 
call  him  the  '  Scotch  Ariosto,'  which  would  be  sad 
provincial  eulogy,  but  the  '  Ariosto  of  the  North] 
meaning  of  all  countries  that  are  not  the  South.  *  * 

"  As  I  have  recently  troubled  you  rather  fre- 
quently, I  will  conclude,  repeating  that  I  am 

"  Yours  ever,"  &c. 

LETTER  299.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  October  12.  1817. 

"  Mr.  Kinnaird  and  his  brother,  Lord  Kinnaird, 
have  been  here,  and  are  now  gone  again.  All  your 
missives  came,  except  the  tooth-powder,  of  which  I 
request  further  supplies,  at  all  convenient  oppor- 
tunities ;  as  also  of  magnesia  and  soda-powders,  both 
great  luxuries  here,  and  neither  to  be  had  good,  or 
indeed  hardly  at  all,  of  the  natives.  *  *  * 

"  In  *  *'s  Life,  I  perceive  an  attack  upon  the  then 
Committee  of  D.  L.  Theatre  for  acting  Bertram,  and 
an  attack  upon  Maturin's  Bertram  for  being  acted. 
Considering  all  things,  this  is  not  very  grateful  nor 
graceful  on  the  part  of  the  worthy  autobiographer; 

VOL.  IV.  F 

66  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

and  I  would  answer,  if  I  had  not  obliged  him.  Put- 
ting my  own  pains  to  forward  the  views  of  *  *  out  of 
the  question,  I  know  that  there  was  every  disposition, 
on  the  part  of  the  Sub-Committee,  to  bring  forward 
any  production  of  his,  were  it  feasible.  The  play 
he  offered,  though  poetical,  did  not  appear  at  all 
practicable,  and  Bertram  did;  —  and  hence  this 
long  tirade,  which  is  the  last  chapter  of  his  vaga- 
bond life. 

"  As  for  Bertram,  Maturin  may  defend  his  own 
begotten,  if  he  likes  it  well  enough;  I  leave  the 
Irish  clergyman  and  the  new  Orator  Henley  to 
battle  it  out  between  them,  satisfied  to  have  done 
the  best  I  could  for  both.  I  may  say  this  to  you> 
who  know  it. 

"  Mr.  *  *  may  console  himself  with  the  fervour, — 
the  almost  religious  fervour  of  his  and  W  *  *'s  dis- 
ciples, as  he  calls  it.  If  he  means  that  as  any  proof 
of  their  merits,  I  will  find  him  as  much  *  fervour'  in 
behalf  of  Richard  Brothers  and  Joanna  Southcote 
as  ever  gathered  over  his  pages  or  round  his  fire- 

"  My  answer  to  your  proposition  about  the  fourth 
Canto  you  will  have  received,  and  I  await  yours ; — 
perhaps  we  may  not  agree.  I  have  since  written  a 
poem  (of  84  octave  stanzas),  humorous,  in  or  after 
the  excellent  manner  of  Mr.  Whistlecraft  (whom  I 
take  to  be  Frere),  on  a  Venetian  anecdote  which 
amused  me: — but  till  I  have  your  answer,  I  can 
say  nothing  more  about  it. 

"  Mr.  Hobhouse  does  not  return  to  England  in 
November,  as  he  intended,  but  will  winter  here 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  67 

and  as  he  is  to  convey  the  poem,  or  poems, — for 
there  may  perhaps  be  more  than  the  two  mentioned, 
(which,  by  the  way,  I  shall  not  perhaps  include  in 
the  same  publication  or  agreement,)  I  shall  not  be 
able  to  publish  so  soon  as  expected ;  but  I  suppose 
there  is  no  harm  in  the  delay. 

"  I  have  signed  and  sent  your  former  copyrights  by 
Mr.  Kinnaird,  but  not  the  receipt,  because  the  money 
is  not  yet  paid.     Mr.  Kinnaird  has  a  power  of  attor 
ney  to  sign  for  me,  and  will,  when  necessary. 

"  Many  thanks  for  the  Edinburgh  Review,  which 
is  very  kind  about  Manfred,  and  defends  its  origi- 
nality, which  I  did  not  know  that  any  body  had 
attacked.  I  never  read,  and  do  not  know  that  I 
ever  saw,  the  *  Faustus  of  Marlow,'  and  had,  and 
have,  no  dramatic  works  by  me  in  English,  except 
the  recent  things  you  sent  me;  but  I  heard  Mr. 
Lewis  translate  verbally  some  scenes  of  Goethe's 
Faust  (which  were,  some  good,  and  some  bad)  last 
summer ; — which  is  all  I  know  of  the  history  of  that 
magical  personage  ;  and  as  to  the  germs  of  Manfred, 
they  may  be  found  in  the  Journal  which  I  sent  to 
Mrs.  Leigh  (part  of  which  you  saw)  when  I  went 
over  first  the  Dent  de  Jaman,  and  then  the  Wengen 
or  Wengeberg  Alp  and  Sheideck,  and  made  the 
giro  of  the  Jungfrau,  Shreckhorn,  &c.  &c.  shortly 
before  I  left  Switzerland.  I  have  the  whole  scene 
of  Manfred  before  me  as  if  it  was  but  yesterday, 
and  could  point  it  out,  spot  by  spot,  torrent  and  all. 

"  Of  the  Prometheus  of  ^schylus  I  was  passion- 
ately fond  as  a  boy  (it  was  one  of  the  Greek  plays 
F  2 

68  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

we  read  thrice  a  year  at  Harrow); — indeed  that 
and  the  '  Medea'  were  the  only  ones,  except  the 
'  Seven  before  Thebes,'  which  ever  much  pleased 
me.  As  to  the  '  Faustus  of  Marlow,'  I  never  read, 
never  saw,  nor  heard  of  it  —  at  least,  thought  of  it, 
except  that  I  think  Mr.  Gifford  mentioned,  in  a  note 
of  his  which  you  sent  me,  something  about  the 
catastrophe ;  but  not  as  having  any  thing  to  do  with 
mine,  which  may  or  may  not  resemble  it,  for  any 
thing  I  know. 

"  The  Prometheus,  if  not  exactly  in  my  plan,  has 
always  been  so  much  in  my  head,  that  I  can  easily 
conceive  its  influence  over  all  or  any  thing  that  I 
have  written ; — but  I  deny  Marlow  and  his  progeny, 
arid  beg  that  you  will  do  the  same. 

"  If  you  can  send  me  the  paper  in  question  *, 
which  the  Edinburgh  Review  mentions,  do*  The 
review  in  the  magazine  you  say  was  written  by 
Wilson  ?  it  had  all  the  air  of  being  a  poet's,  and  was 
a  very  good  one.  The  Edinburgh  Review  I  take  to 
be  Jeffrey's  own  by  its  friendliness.  I  wonder  they 
thought  it  worth  while  to  do  so,  so  soon  after  the 
former ;  but  it  was  evidently  with  a  good  motive. 

"  I  saw  Hoppner  the  other  day,  whose  country- 
house  at  Este  I  have  taken  for  two  years.  If  you 

*  A  paper  in  the  Edinburgh  Magazine,  in  which  it  was 
suggested  that  the  general  conception  of  Manfred,  and  much 
of  what  is  excellent  in  the  manner  of  its  execution,  had  been 
borrowed  from  "  The  Tragical  History  of  Dr.  Faustus,"  of 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD     BYRON.  69 

come  out  next  summer,  let  me  know  in  time.    Love 
to  Gifford.  "  Yours  ever  truly. 

"  Crabbe,  Malcolm,  Hamilton,  and  Chantrey, 
Are  all  partakers  of  my  pantry. 

These  two  lines  are  omitted  in  your  letter  to  the 
doctor,  after  — 

"  All  clever  men  who  make  their  way." 

LETTER  300.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  October  23.  1817. 

"  Your  two  letters  are  before  me,  and  our  bargain 
is  so  far  concluded.  How  sorry  I  am  to  hear  that 
Gifford  is  unwell !  Pray  tell  me  he  is  better :  I  hope 
it  is  nothing  but  cold.  As  you  say  his  illness  origi- 
nates in  cold,  I  trust  it  will  get  no  further. 

"  Mr.  Whistlecraft  has  no  greater  admirer  than 
myself:  I  have  written  a  story  in  89  stanzas,  in 
imitation  of  him,  called  Beppo,  (the  short  name  for 
Giuseppe,  that  is,  the  Joe  of  the  Italian  Joseph,) 
which  I  shall  throw  you  into  the  balance  of  the  fourth 
Canto,  to  help  you  round  to  your  money ;  but  you 
perhaps  had  better  publish  it  anonymously ;  but  this 
we  will  see  to  by  and  by. 

"  In  the  Notes  to  Canto  fourth,  Mr.  Hobhouse 
has  pointed  out  several  errors  of  Gibbon.  You  may 
depend  upon  H.'s  research  and  accuracy.  You  may 
print  it  in  what  shape  you  please. 

"  With  regard  to  a  future  large  edition,  you  may 
print  all,  or  any  thing,  except  *  English  Bards,'  to 
the  republication  of  which  at  no  time  will  I  consent. 
F  3 

70  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

I  would  not  reprint  them  on  any  consideration.  I 
don't  think  them  good  for  much,  even  in  point  of 
poetry  ;  and,  as  to  other  things,  you  are  to  recollect 
that  I  gave  up  the  publication  on  account  of  the  Hol- 
lands, and  I  do  not  think  that  any  time  or  circum- 
stances can  neutralise  the  suppression.  Add  to 
which,  that,  after  being  on  terms  with  almost  all  the 
bards  and  critics  of  the  day,  it  would  be  savage  at 
any  time,  but  worst  of  all  now,  to  revive  this  foolish 

"  The  review  of  Manfred  came  very  safely,  and  I 
am  much  pleased  with  it.  It  is  odd  that  they  should 
say  (that  is  somebody  in  a  magazine  whom  the  Edin- 
burgh controverts)  that  it  was  taken  from  Marlow's 
Faust,  which  I  never  read  nor  saw.  An  American, 
who  came  the  other  day  from  Germany,  told  Mr. 
Hobhouse  that  Manfred  was  taken  from  Goethe's 
Faust.  The  devil  may  take  both  the  Faustuses, 
German  and  English  —  I  have  taken  neither. 

"  Will  you  send  to  Hanson,  and  say  that  he  has 
not  written  since  9th  September?  — at  least  I  have 
had  no  letter  since,  to  my  great  surprise. 

"  Will  you  desire  Messrs.  Morland  to  send  out 
whatever  additional  sums  have  or  may  be  paid  in 
credit  immediately,  and  always  to  their  Venice  cor- 
respondents ?  It  is  two  months  ago  that  they  sent 
me  out  an  additional  credit  for  one  thousand  pounds. 
I  was  very  glad  of  it,  but  I  don't  know  how  the  devil 
it  came ;  for  I  can  only  make  out  500  of  Hanson's 
payment,  and  I  had  thought  the  other  500  came 
from  you ;  but  it  did  not,  it  seems,  as,  by  yours  of 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  71 

the  7th  instant,  you  have  only  just  paid  the  1230/. 

"  Mr.  Kinnaird  is  on  his  way  home  with  the 
assignments.  I  can  fix  no  time  for  the  arrival  of 
Canto  fourth,  which  depends  on  the  journey  of  Mr. 
Hobhouse  home ;  and  I  do  not  think  that  this  will 
be  immediate. 

"  Yours  in  great  haste  and  very  truly, 


"  P.  S.  Morlands  have  not  yet  written  to  my 
bankers  apprising  the  payment  of  your  balances : 
pray  desire  them  to  do  so. 

"  Ask  them  about  the  previous  thousand  —  of 
which  I  know  500  came  from  Hanson's  —  and  make 
out  the  other  500  —  that  is,  whence  it  came." 

LETTER  301.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  November  15.  J817. 

"  Mr.  Kinnaird  has  probably  returned  to  England 
by  this  time,  and  will  have  conveyed  to  you  any 
tidings  you  may  wish  to  have  of  us  and  ours.  I  have 
come  back  to  Venice  for  the  winter.  Mr.  Hobhouse 
will  probably  set  off  in  December,  but  what  day  or 
week  I  know  not.  He  is  my  opposite  neighbour  at 

"  I  wrote  yesterday  in  some  perplexity,  and  no 
very  good  humour,  to  Mr.  Kinnaird,  to  inform  me 
about  Newstead  and  the  Hansons,  of  which  and 
whom  I  hear  nothing  since  his  departure  from  this 
place,  except  in  a  few  unintelligible  words  from  an 
unintelligible  woman. 

F  4- 

72  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

"  I  am  as  sorry  to  hear  of  Dr.  Polidori's  accident 
as  one  can  be  for  a  person  for  whom  one  has  a  dislike, 
and  something  of  contempt.  When  he  gets  well, 
tell  me,  and  how  he  gets  on  in  the  sick  line.  Poor 
fellow  !  how  came  he  to  fix  there  ? 

"  I  fear  the  Doctor's  skill  at  Norwich 
Will  hardly  salt  the  Doctor's  porridge. 

Methought  he  was  going  to  the  Brazils  to  give  the 
Portuguese  physic  (of  which  they  are  fond  to  des- 
peration) with  the  Danish  consul. 

"  Your  new  Canto  has  expanded  to  one  hundred 
and  sixty-seven  stanzas.  It  will  be  long,  you  see  ; 
and  as  for  the  notes  by  Hobhouse,  I  suspect  they 
will  be  of  the  heroic  size.  You  must  keep  Mr.  *  * 
in  good  humour,  for  he  is  devilish  touchy  yet  about 
your  Review  and  all  which  it  inherits,  including  the 
editor,  the  Admiralty,  and  its  bookseller.  I  used  to 
think  that  /  was  a  good  deal  of  an  author  in  amour 
propre  and  noli  me  tangere ;  but  these  prose  fellows 
are  worst,  after  all,  about  their  little  comforts. 

"  Do  you  remember  my  mentioning,  some  months 
ago,  the  Marquis  Moncada  —  a  Spaniard  of  distinc- 
tion and  fourscore  years,  my  summer  neighbour  at 
La  Mira  ?  Well,  about  six  weeks  ago,  he  fell  in 
love  with  a  Venetian  girl  of  family,  and  no  fortune  or 
character;  took  her  into  his  mansion;  quarrelled  with 
all  his  former  friends  for  giving  him  advice  (except 
me  who  gave  him  none),  and  installed  her  present 
concubine  and  future  wife  and  mistress  of  himself 
and  furniture.  At  the  end  of  a  month,  in  which  she 
demeaned  herself  as  ill  as  possible,  he  found  out  a 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  73 

correspondence  between  her  and  some  former  keeper, 
and  after  nearly  strangling,  turned  her  out  of  the 
house,  to  the  great  scandal  of  the  keeping  part  of  the 
town,  and  with  a  prodigious  eclat,  which  has  occu- 
pied all  the  canals  and  coffee-houses  in  Venice.  He 
said  she  wanted  to  poison  him  ;  and  she  says — God 
knows  what ;  but  between  them  they  have  made  a 
great  deal  of  noise.  I  know  a  little  of  both  the  par- 
ties :  Moncada  seemed  a  very  sensible  old  man,  a 
character  which  he  has  not  quite  kept  up  on  this 
occasion ;  and  the  woman  is  rather  showy  than  pretty. 
For  the  honour  of  religion,  she  was  bred  in  a  con- 
vent, and  for  the  credit  of  Great  Britain,  taught  by 
an  Englishwoman.  "  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  302.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  December  3.  1817. 

"  A  Venetian  lady,  learned  and  somewhat  stricken 
in  years,  having,  in  her  intervals  of  love  and  devo- 
tion, taken  upon  her  to  translate  the  Letters  and 
write  the  Life  of  Lady  Mary  Wortley  Montague,  — 
to  which  undertaking  there  are  two  obstacles,  firstly, 
ignorance  of  English,  and,  secondly,  a  total  dearth  of 
information  on  the  subject  of  her  projected  biogra- 
phy, has  applied  to  me  for  facts  or  falsities  upon 
this  promising  project.  Lady  Montague  lived  the 
last  twenty  or  more  years  of  her  life  in  or  near 
Venice,  I  believe  ;  but  here  they  know  nothing,  and 
remember  nothing,  for  the  story  of  to-day  is  suc- 
ceeded by  the  scandal  of  to-morrow  ;  and  the  wit, 
and  beauty,  and  gallantry,  which  might  render  your 

74f  NOTICES    OF    THE  1817. 

countrywoman  notorious  in  her  own  country,  must 
have  been  here  no  great  distinction  —  because  the 
first  is  in  no  request,  and  the  two  latter  are  common 
to  all  women,  or  at  least  the  last  of  them.  If  you  can 
therefore  tell  me  any  thing,  or  get  any  thing  told,  of 
Lady  Wortley  Montague,  I  shall  take  it  as  a  favour, 
and  will  transfer  and  translate  it  to  the  *  Dama'  in 
question.  And  I  pray  you  besides  to  send  me,  by 
some  quick  and  safe  voyager,  the  edition  of  her 
Letters,  and  the  stupid  Life,  by  Dr.  Dallaway,  pub- 
lished by  her  proud  and  foolish  family. 

"  The  death  of  the  Princess  Charlotte  has  been  a 
shock  even  here,  and  must  have  been  an  earthquake 
at  home.  The  Courier's  list  of  some  three  hundred 
heirs  to  the  crown  (including  the  house  of  Wirtem- 

berg,  with  that  *  *  *,  P ,  of  disreputable  memory, 

whom  I  remember  seeing  at  various  balls  during  the 
visit  of  the  Muscovites,  &c.  in  1814)  must  be  very 
consolatory  to  all  true  lieges,  as  well  as  foreigners, 
except  Signor  Travis,  a  rich  Jew  merchant  of  this 
city,  who  complains  grievously  of  the  length  of  British 
mourning,  which  has  countermanded  all  the  silks 
which  he  was  on  the  point  of  transmitting,  for  a 
year  to  come.  The  death  of  this  poor  girl  is  melan- 
choly in  every  respect,  dyirig  at  twenty  or  so,  in 
childbed — of  a  boy  too,  a  present  princess  and  future 
queen,  and  just  as  she  began  to  be  happy,  and  to 
enjoy  herself,  and  the  hopes  which  she  inspired. 

"  I  think,  as  far  as  I  can  recollect,  she  is  the  first 
royal  defunct  in  childbed  upon  record  in  our  history. 
I  feel  sorry  in  every  respect — for  the  loss  of  a  female 
reign,  and  a  woman  hitherto  harmless ;  and  all  the 

1817.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  75 

lost  rejoicings,  and  addresses,  and  drunkenness,  and 
disbursements,  of  John  Bull  on  the  occasion. 

"  The  Prince  will  marry  again,  after  divorcing  his 
wife,  and  Mr.  Southey  will  write  an  elegy  now,  and 
an  ode  then ;  the  Quarterly  will  have  an  article 
against  the  press,  and  the  Edinburgh  an  article,  half 
and  half,  about  reform  and  right  of  divorce ;  the 
British  will  give  you  Dr.  Chalmers's  funeral  sermon 
much  commended,  with  a  place  in  the  stars  for 
deceased  royalty ;  and  the  Morning  Post  will  have 
already  yelled  forth  its  *  syllables  of  dolour.' 

"  Woe,  woe,  Nealliny  !  —  the  young  Nealliny  ! 

"  It  is  some  time  since  I  have  heard  from  you  :  are 
you  in  bad  humour  ?  I  suppose  so.  I  have  been  so 
myself,  and  it  is  your  turn  now,  and  by  and  by  mine 
will  come  round  again.  Yours  truly, 


"  P.  S.  Countess  Albrizzi,  come  back  from  Paris, 
has  brought  me  a  medal  of  himself,  a  present  from 
Denon  to  me,  and  a  likeness  of  Mr.  Rogers  (belonging 
to  her),  by  Denon  also.'' 

LETTER  303.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

«  Venice,  December  15.  1817. 

"  I  should  have  thanked  you  before,  for  your 
favour  a  few  days  ago,  had  I  not  been  in  the  inten- 
tion of  paying  my  respects,  personally,  this  evening, 
from  which  I  am  deterred  by  the  recollection  that 
you  will  probably  be  at  the  Count  Goess's  this  even- 
ing, which  has  made  me  postpone  my  intrusion. 

76  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

"  I  think  your  Elegy  a  remarkably  good  one, 
not  only  as  a  composition,  but  both  the  politics  and 
poetry  contain  a  far  greater  portion  of  truth  and 
generosity  than  belongs  to  the  times,  or  to  the  pro- 
fessors of  these  opposite  pursuits,  which  usually 
agree  only  in  one  point,  as  extremes  meet.  I  do 
not  know  whether  you  wished  me  to  retain  the  copy, 
but  I  shall  retain  it  till  you  tell  me  otherwise ;  and 
am  very  much  obliged  by  the  perusal. 

"  My  own  sentiments  on  Venice,  &c.,  such  as  they 
are,  I  had  already  thrown  into  verse  last  summer, 
in  the  fourth  Canto  of  Childe  Harold,  now  in  pre- 
paration for  the  press ;  and  I  think  much  more  highly 
of  them,  for  being  in  coincidence  with  yours. 

"  Believe  me  yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  304.         TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  January  8.  1818. 

"  My  dear  Mr.  Murray, 
You're  in  a  damn'd  hurry 

To  set  up  this  ultimate  Canto ; 
But  (if  they  don't  rob  us) 
You'll  see  Mr.  Hobhouse 

Will  bring  it  safe  in  his  portmanteau. 

*'  For  the  Journal  you  hint  of, 
As  ready  to  print  off, 

No  doubt  you  do  right  to  commend  it ; 
But  as  yet  I  have  writ  off 
The  devil  a  bit  of 

Our  '  Beppo ;'  —  when  copied,  I'll  send  it. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  77 

"  Then  you  've  *  *  *  Tour,  — 
No  great  things,  so  be  sure, 

You  could  hardly  begin  with  a  less  work  ; 
For  the  pompous  rascal  lion, 
Who  don't  speak  Italian 

Nor  French,  must  have  scribbled  by  guess-work. 

"  You  can  make  any  loss  up 
With  *  Spence '  and  his  gossip, 

A  work  which  must  surely  succeed; 
Then  Queen  Mary's  Epistle-craft, 
With  the  new  «  Fytte  '  of «  Whistlecraft,' 

Must  make  people  purchase  and  read. 

"  Then  you  've  General  Gordon, 
Who  girded  his  sword  on, 

To  serve  with  a  Muscovite  master, 
And  help  him  to  polish 
A  nation  so  owlish, 

They  thought  shaving  their  beards  a  disaster. 

"  For  the  man,  '  poor  and  shrewd  *, ' 
With  whom  you'd  conclude 

A  compact  without  more  delay, 
Perhaps  some  such  pen  is 
Still  extant  in  Venice  ; 

But  please,  sir,  to  mention  your  pay." 

LETTER  305.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  January  19.  1818. 

"  I  send  you  the  Story  f  in  three  other  separate 
covers.  It  won't  do  for  your  Journal,  being  full  of 
political  allusions.  Print  alone,  without  name;  alter 

*  "  Vide  your  letter."  f  Beppo. 

78  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

nothing ;  get  a  scholar  to  see  that  the  Italian  phrases 
are  correctly  published,  (your  printing,  by  the  way, 
always  makes  me  ill  with  its  eternal  blunders,  which 
are  incessant,)  and  God  speed  you.  Hobhouse  left 
Venice  a  fortnight  ago,  saving  two  days.  I  have  heard 
nothing  of  or  from  him. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  He  has  the  whole  of  the  MSS. ;  so  put  up  prayers 
in  your  back  shop,  or  in  the  printer's  '  Chapel.' " 

LETTER  306.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  January  27.  1818. 

"  My  father  —  that  is,  my  Armenian  father,  Padre 
Pasquali  —  in  the  name  of  all  the  other  fathers  of 
our  Convent,  sends  you  the  enclosed,  greeting. 

"  Inasmuch  as  it  has  pleased  the  translators  of 
the  long-lost  and  lately-found  portions  of  the  text 
of  Eusebius  to  put  forth  the  enclosed  prospectus,  of 
which  I  send  six  copies,  you  are  hereby  implored 
to  obtain  subscribers  in  the  two  Universities,  and 
among  the  learned,  and  the  unlearned  who  would 
unlearn  their  ignorance.  —  This  they  (the  Convent) 
request,  /  request,  and  do  you  request. 

"  I  sent  you  Beppo  some  weeks  agone.  You 
must  publish  it  alone ;  it  has  politics  and  ferocity, 
and  won't  do  for  your  isthmus  of  a  Journal. 

"  Mr.  Hobhouse,  if  the  Alps  have  not  broken  his 
neck,  is,  or  ought  to  be,  swimming  with  my  com- 
mentaries and  his  own  coat  of  mail  in  his  teeth 
and  right  hand,  in  a  cork  jacket,  between  Calais 
and  Dover. 




"  It  is  the  height  of  the  Carnival,  and  I  am  in  the 
extreme  and  agonies  of  a  new  intrigue  with  I  don't 
exactly  know  whom  or  what,  except  that  she  is  in- 
satiate of  love,  and  won't  take  money,  and  has  light 
hair  and  blue  eyes,  which  are  not  common  here, 
and  that  I  met  her  at  the  Masque,  and  that  when 
her  mask  is  off,  I  am  as  wise  as  ever.  I  shall  make 
what  I  can  of  the  remainder  of  my  youth." 

LETTER  307.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Venice,  February  2.  1818. 

"  Your  letter  of  December  8th  arrived  but  this 
day,  by  some  delay,  common  but  inexplicable.  Your 
domestic  calamity  is  very  grievous,  and  I  feel  with 

you  as  much  as  I  dare  feel  at  all.v Throughout  life, 

^oiir Jj3SS_nLU£lLb^^  gain ; 

and,  though  my  heart  may  ebb,  there  will  always 
a  drop  for  you  among  the  dregs. 

"  I  know  how  to  feel  with  you,  because  (selfishness 
being  always  the  substratum  of  our  damnable  clay) 
I  am  quite  wrapt  up  in  my  own  children.  Besides 
my  little  legitimate,  I  have  made  unto  myself  an 
z71egitimate  since  (to  say  nothing  of  one  before  *), 
and  I  look  forward  to  one  of  these  as  the  pillar  of 
my  old  age,  supposing  that  I  ever  reach  —  which  I 
hope  I  never  shall  —  that  desolating  period.  I  have 
a  great  love  for  my  little  Ada,  though  perhaps  she 
may  torture  me,  like  *  *  *. 

*  This  possibly  may  have  been  the  subject  of  the  Poem 
given  in  p.  152.  of  the  first  volume. 

80  NOTICES   OF    THE  1818. 

"  Your  offered  address  will  be  as  acceptable  as  you 
can  wish.  I  don't  much  care  what  the  wretches  of 
the  world  think  of  me  —  all  that's  past.  But  I  care  a 
good  deal  what  you  think  of  me,  and,  so,  say  what 
you  like.  You  know  that  I  am  not  sullen ;  and,  as  to 
being  savage,  such  things  depend  on  circumstances. 
However,  as  to  being  in  good  humour  in  your  society, 
there  is  no  great  merit  in  that,  because  it  would  be 
an  effort,  or  an  insanity,  to  be  otherwise. 

"  I  don't  know  what  Murray  may  have  been  saying 
or  quoting.  *  I  called  Crabbe  and  Sam  the  fathers 
of  present  Poesy ;  and  said,  that  I  thought  —  except 
them  —  all  of  *  us  youth '  were  on  a  wrong  tack. 
But  I  never  said  that  we  did  not  sail  well.  Our 
fame  will  be  hurt  by  admiration  and  imitation.  When 
I  say  our,  I  mean  all  (Lakers  included),  except  the 
postscript  of  the  Augustans.  The  next  generation 
(from  the  quantity  and  facility  of  imitation)  will 
tumble  and  break  their  necks  off  our  Pegasus,  who 

„  *  Having  seen  by  accident  the  passage  in  one  of  his  letters 
to  Mr.  Murray,  in  which  he  denounces,  as  false  and  worthless, 
the  poetical  system  on  which  the  greater  number  of  his  cotem- 
poraries,  as  well  as  himself,  founded  their  reputation,  I  took 
an  opportunity,  in  the  next  letter  I  wrote  to  him,  of  jesting  a 
little  on  this  opinion,  and  his  motives  for  it.  It  was,  no  doubt 
(I  ventured  to  say),  excellent  policy  in  him,  who  had  made 
sure  of  his  own  immortality  in  this  style  of  writing,  thus  to 
throw  overboard  all  us  poor  devils,  who  were  embarked  with 
him.  He  was,  in  fact,  I  added,  behaving  towards  us  much  in 
the  manner  of  the  methodist  preacher  who  said  to  his  con- 
gregation— "  You  may  think,  at  the  Last  Day,  to  get  to 
heaven  by  laying  hold  on  my  skirts ;  but  I'll  cheat  you  all,  for 
I'll  wear  a  spencer,  I'll  wear  a  spencer !  " 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  81 

runs  away  with  us  ;  but  we  keep  the  saddle,  because 
we  broke  the  rascal  and  can  ride.  But  though  easy 
to  mount,  he  is  the  devil  to  guide ;  and  the  next 
fellows  must  go  back  to  the  riding-school  and  the 
manege,  and  learn  to  ride  the  '  great  horse.' 

"  Talking  of  horses,  by  the  way,  I  have  trans- 
ported my  own,  four  in  number,  to  the  Lido  (beach  in 
English),  a  strip  of  some  ten  miles  along  the  Adriatic, 
a  mile  or  two  from  the  city ;  so  that  I  not  only  get  a 
row  in  my  gondola,  but  a  spanking  gallop  of  some 
miles  daily  along  a  firm  and  solitary  beach,  from 
the  fortress  to  Malamocco,  the  which  contributes 
considerably  to  my  health  and  spirits. 

"  I  have  hardly  had  a  wink  of  sleep  this  week 
past.  We  are  in  the  agonies  of  the  Carnival's  last 
days,  and  I  must  be  up  all  night  again,  as  well  as  to- 
morrow. I  have  had  some  curious  masking  adven- 
tures this  Carnival ;  but,  as  they  are  not  yet  over, 
I  shall  not  say  on.  I  will  work  the  mine  of  my  youth 
to  the  last  veins  of  the  ore,  and  then  —  good  night. 
I  have  lived,  and  am  content. 

"  Hobhouse  went  away  before  the  Carnival  began, 
so  that  he  had  little  or  no  fun.  Besides,  it  requires 
some  time  to  be  thoroughgoing  with  the  Venetians ; 
but  of  all  this  anon,  in  some  other  letter. 

"  I  must  dress  for  the  evening.  There  is  an  opera 
and  ridotto,  and  I  know  not  what,  besides  balls ;  and 
so,  ever  and  ever  yours,  "  B. 

"  P.  S.  I  send  this  without  revision,  so  excuse 
errors.  I  delight  in  the  fame  and  fortune  of  Lalla, 
and  again  congratulate  you  on  your  well-merited 

VOL.  IV.  G 

82  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

Of  his  daily  rides  on  the  Lido,  which  he  mentions 
in  this  letter,  the  following  account,  by  a  gentleman 
who  lived  a  good  deal  with  him  at  Venice,  will  be 
found  not  a  little  interesting :  — 

"  Almost  immediately  after  Mr.  Hobhouse's  de- 
parture, Lord  Byron  proposed  to  me  to  accompany 
him  in  his  rides  on  the  Lido.  One  of  the  long 
narrow  islands  which  separate  the  Lagune,  in  the 
midst  of  which  Venice  stands,  from  the  Adriatic,  is 
more  particularly  distinguished  by  this  name.  At 
one  extremity  is  a  fortification,  which,  with  the 
Castle  of  St.  Andrea  on  an  island  on  the  opposite 
side,  defends  the  nearest  entrance  to  the  city  from 
the  sea.  In  times  of  peace  this  fortification  is  almost 
dismantled,  and  Lord  Byron  had  hired  here  of  the 
Commandant  an  unoccupied  stable,  where  he  kept 
his  horses.  The  distance  from  the  city  was  not 
very  considerable ;  it  was  much  less  than  to  the 
Terra  Firma,  and,  as  far  as  it  went,  the  spot  was  not 
ineligible  for  riding. 

"  Every  day  that  the  weather  would  permit,  Lord 
Byron  called  for  me  in  his  gondola,  and  we  found 
the  horses  waiting  for  us  outside  of  the  fort.  We 
rode  as  far  as  we  could  along  the  sea-shore,  and  then 
on  a  kind  of  dyke,  or  embankment,  which  has  been 
raised  where  the  island  was  very  narrow,  as  far  as 
another  small  fort  about  half  way  between  the  prin- 
cipal one  which  I  have  already  mentioned,  and  the 
town  or  village  of  Malamocco,  which  is  near  the 
other  extremity  of  the  island, — the  distance  between 
the  two  forts  being  about  three  miles. 

"  On  the  land  side  of  the  embankment,  not  fai 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  83 

from  the  smaller  fort,  was  a  boundary  stone  which 
probably  marked  some  division  of  property,  —  all 
the  side  of  the  island  nearest  the  Lagune  being 
divided  into  gardens  for  the  cultivation  of  vegetables 
for  the  Venetian  markets.  At  the  foot  of  this  stone 
Lord  Byron  repeatedly  told  me  that  I  should  cause 
him  to  be  interred,  if  he  should  die  in  Venice,  or 
its  neighbourhood,  during  my  residence  there  ;  and 
he  appeared  to  think,  as  he  was  not  a  Catholic,  that, 
on  the  part  of  the  government,  there  could  be  no 
obstacle  to  his  interment  in  an  unhallowed  spot  of 
ground  by  the  sea-side.  At  all  events,  I  was  to 
overcome  whatever  difficulties  might  be  raised  on 
this  account.  I  was,  by  no  means,  he  repeatedly 
told  me,  to  allow  his  body  to  be  removed  to  England, 
nor  permit  any  of  his  family  to  interfere  with  his 

"  Nothing  could  be  more  delightful  than  these 
rides  on  the  Lido  were  to  me.  We  were  from  half 
to  three  quarters  of  an  hour  crossing  the  water, 
during  which  his  conversation  was  always  most 
amusing  and  interesting.  Sometimes  he  would  bring 
with  him  any  new  book  he  had  received,  and  read 
to  me  the  passages  which  most  struck  him.  Often 
he  would  repeat  to  me  whole  stanzas  of  the  poems 
he  was  engaged  in  writing,  as  he  had  composed 
them  on  the  preceding  evening  ;  and  this  was  the 
more  interesting  to  me,  because  I  could  frequently 
trace  in  them  some  idea  which  he  had  started  in  our 
conversation  of  the  preceding  day,  or  some  remark, 
the  effect  of  which  he  had  been  evidently  trying 
upon  nie.  Occasionally,  too,  he  spoke  of  his  own 
G  2 

84?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

affairs,  making  me  repeat  all  I  had  heard  with  regard 
to  him,  and  desiring  that  I  would  not  spare  him, 
but  let  him  know  the  worst  that  was  said." 

LETTER  308.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  Feb.  20.  1818. 

"  I  have  to  thank  Mr.  Croker  for  the  arrival,  and 
you  for  the  contents,  of  the  parcel  which  came  last 
week,  much  quicker  than  any  before,  owing  to  Mr. 
Croker's  kind  attention  and  the  official  exterior  of 
the  bags  ;  and  all  safe,  except  much  friction  amongst 
the  magnesia,  of  which  only  two  bottles  came  entire ; 
but  it  is  all  very  well,  and  I  am  exceedingly  obliged 
to  you. 

"  The  books  I  have  read,  or  rather  am  reading. 
Pray,  who  may  be  the  Sexagenarian,  whose  gossip 
is  very  amusing  ?  Many  of  his  sketches  I  recognise, 
particularly  Gifford,  Mackintosh,  Drummond,  Du- 
tens,  H.  Walpole,  Mrs.  Inchbald,  Opie,  &c.,  with  the 
Scotts,  Loughborough,  and  most  of  the  divines  and 
lawyers,  besides  a  few  shorter  hints  of  authors,  and 
a  few  lines  about  a  certain  <  noble  author,'  charac- 
terised as  malignant  and  sceptical,  according  to  the 
good  old  story,  *  as  it  was  in  the  beginning,  is  now, 
but  not  always  shall  be  : '  do  you  know  such  a  per- 
son, Master  Murray  ?  eh  ?  —  And  pray,  of  the 
booksellers,  which  be  you  ?  the  dry,  the  dirty,  the 
honest,  the  opulent,  the  finical,  the  splendid,  or  the 
coxcomb  bookseller  ?  Stap  my  vitals,  but  the  author 
grows  scurrilous  in  his  grand  climacteric  ! 

"  I  remember  to  have  seen  Person  at  Cambridge^ 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  86 

in  the  hall  of  our  college,  and  in  private  parties,  but 
not  frequently ;  and  I  never  can  recollect  him  ex- 
cept as  drunk  or  brutal,  and  generally  both  :  I  mean 
in  an  evening,  for  in  the  hall  he  dined  at  the  Dean's 
table,  and  I  at  the  Vice-master's,  so  that  I  was  not 
near  him  ;  and  he  then  and  there  appeared  sober  in 
his  demeanour,  nor  did  I  ever  hear  of  excess  or  out- 
rage on  his  part  in  public,  —  commons,  college,  or 
chapel ;  but  I  have  seen  him  in  a  private  party  of  un- 
dergraduates, many  of  them  fresh  men  and  strangers, 
take  up  a  poker  to  one  of  them,  and  heard  him  use 
language  as  blackguard  as  his  action.  I  have  seen 
Sheridan  drunk,  too,  with  all  the  world ;  but  his 
intoxication  was  that  of  Bacchus,  and  Person's  that 
of  Silenus.  Of  all  the  disgusting  brutes,  sulky, 
abusive,  and  intolerable,  Porson  was  the  most 
bestial,  as  far  as  the  few  times  that  I  saw  him  went, 
which  were  only  at  William  Bankes's  (the  Nubian 
discoverer's)  rooms.  I  saw  him  once  go  away  in  a 
rage,  because  nobody  knew  the  name  of  the '  Cobbler 
of  Messina,'  insulting  their  ignorance  with  the  most 
vulgar  terms  of  reprobation.  He  was  tolerated  in 
this  state  amongst  the  young  men  for  his  talents, 
as  the  Turks  think  a  madman  inspired,  and  bear 
with  him.  He  used  to  recite,  or  rather  vomit,  pages 
of  all  languages,  and  could  hiccup  Greek  like  a 
Helot;  and  certainly  Sparta  never  shocked  her 
children  with  a  grosser  exhibition  than  this  man's 

"  I  perceive,  in  the  book  you  sent  me,  a  long  ac- 
count of  him,  which  is  very  savage.   I  cannot  judge, 
as  I  never  saw  him  sober,  except  in  hall  or  combin- 
G  3 

86  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

ation-room  ;  and  then  I  was  never  near  enough  to 
hear,  and  hardly  to  see  him.  Of  his  drunken  de- 
portment, I  can  be  sure,  because  I  saw  it. 

"  With  the  Reviews  I  have  been  much  entertained. 
It  requires  to  be  as  far  from  England  as  I  am  to  relish 
a  periodical  paper  properly  :  it  is  like  soda-water  in 
an  Italian  summer.  But  what  cruel  work  you  make 
with  Lady  *  *  *  *  !  You  should  recollect  that  she 
is  a  woman ;  though,  to  be  sure,  they  are  now  and 
then  very  provoking  ;  still,  as  authoresses,  they  can 
do  no  great  harm  ;  and  I  think  it  a  pity  so  much  good 
invective  should  have  been  laid  out  upon  her,  when 
there  is  such  a  fine  field  of  us  Jacobin  gentlemen  for 
you  to  work  upon. 

"  I  heard  from  Moore  lately,  and  was  sorry  to  be 
made  aware  of  his  domestic  loss.  Thus  it  is  — 
*  medio  de  fonte  leporum '  —  in  the  acme  of  his 
fame  and  his  happiness  comes  a  drawback  as  usual. 

"  Mr.  Hoppner,  whom  I  saw  this  morning,  has 
been  made  the  father  of  a  very  fine  boy.* — Mother 

*  On  the  birth  of  this  child,  who  was  christened  John  Wil- 
liam Rizzo,  Lord  Byron  wrote  the  four  following  lines,  which 
are  in  no  other  respect  remarkable  than  that  they  were  thought 
worthy  of  being  metrically  translated  into  no  less  than  ten 
different  languages  ;  namely,  Greek,  Latin,  Italian  (also  in  the 
Venetian  dialect),  German,  French,  Spanish,  Illyrian,  Hebrew, 
Armenian,  and  Samaritan  :  — 

"  His  father's  sense,  his  mother's  grace 

In  him,  I  hope,  will  always  fit  so ; 

With  (still  to  keep  him  in  good  case) 

The  health  and  appetite  of  Rizzo." 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  87 

and  child  doing  very  well  indeed.  By  this  time 
Hobhouse  should  be  with  you,  and  also  certain 
packets,  letters,  &c.  of  mine,  sent  since  his  departure. 
—  I  am  not  at  all  well  in  health  within  this  last 
eight  days.  My  remembrances  to  Gifford  and  all 
friends.  Yours,  &c. 


"  P.  S.  In  the  course  of  a  month  or  two,  Hanson 
will  have  probably  to  send  off  a  clerk  with  convey- 
ances to  sign  (Newstead  being  sold  in  November 
last  for  ninety-four  thousand  five  hundred  pounds), 
in  which  case  I  supplicate  supplies  of  articles  as 
usual,  for  which,  desire  Mr.  Kinnaird  to  settle  from 
funds  in  their  bank,  and  deduct  from  my  account 
with  him. 

"  P.  S.  To-morrow  night  I  am  going  to  see 
'  Otello,'  an  opera  from  our  '  Othello,'  and  one  or 
Rossini's  best,  it  is  said.  It  will  be  curious  to  see 
in  Venice  the  Venetian  story  itself  represented,  be- 
sides to  discover  what  they  will  make  of  Shakspeare 
in  music." 

LETTER  309.        TO  MR.   HOPPNER. 

"  Venice,  February  28.  1818. 

"  My  dear  Sir, 

"  Our  friend,  il  Conte  M.,  threw  me  into  a  cold 
sweat  last  night,  by  telling  me  of  a  menaced  version 
of  Manfred  (in  Venetian,  I  hope,  to  complete  the 
thing)  by  some  Italian,  who  had  sent  it  to  you  for 

The  original  lines,  with   the  different  versions  just  men- 
tioned, were  printed,  in  a  small  neat  volume  (which  now  lies 
before  me),  in  the  seminary  of  Padua. 
G   4- 

88  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

correction,  which  is  the  reason  why  I  take  the  liberty 
of  troubling  you  on  the  subject.  If  you  have  any 
means  of  communication  with  the  man,  would  you 
permit  me  to  convey  to  him  the  offer  of  any  price  he 
may  obtain  or  think  to  obtain  for  his  project,  pro- 
vided he  will  throw  his  translation  into  the  fire*,  and 
promise  not  to  undertake  any  other  of  that  or  any 
other  of  my  things :  I  will  send  his  money  imme- 
diately on  this  condition. 

"  As  I  did  not  write  to  the  Italians,  nor  for  the 
Italians,  nor  of  the  Italians,  (except  in  a  poem  not 
yet  published,  where  I  have  said  all  the  good  I  know 
or  do  not  know  of  them,  and  none  of  the  harm,)  I 
confess  I  wish  that  they  would  let  me  alone,  and  not 

*  Having  ascertained  that  the  utmost  this  translator  could 
expect  to  make  by  his  manuscript  was  two  hundred  francs, 
Lord  Byron  offered  him  that  sum,  if  he  would  desist  from 
publishing.  The  Italian,  however,  held  out  for  more;  nor 
could  he  be  brought  to  terms,  till  it  was  intimated  to  him  pretty 
plainly  from  Lord  Byron  that,  should  the  publication  be  per- 
sisted in,  he  would  horsewhip  him  the  very  first  time  they 
met.  Being  but  little  inclined  to  suffer  martyrdom  in  the 
cause,  the  translator  accepted  the  two  hundred  francs,  and 
delivered  up  his  manuscript,  entering  at  the  same  time  into  a 
written  engagement  never  to  translate  any  other  of  the  noble 
poet's  works. 

Of  the  qualifications  of  this  person  as  a  translator  of  English 
poetry,  some  idea  may  be  formed  from  the  difficulty  he  found 
himself  under  respecting  the  meaning  of  a  line  in  the  Incanta- 
tion in  Manfred,  —  "  And  the  wisp  on  the  morass,"  —  which 
he  requested  of  Mr.  Hoppner  to  expound  to  him,  not  having 
been  able  to  find  in  the  dictionaries  to  which  he  had  access 
any  other  signification  of  the  word  "  wisp  "  than  "  a  bundle  of 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  89 

drag  me  into  their  arena  as  one  of  the  gladiators,  in 
a  silly  contest  which  I  neither  understand  nor  have 
ever  interfered  with,  having  kept  clear  of  all  their 
literary  parties,  both  here  and  at  Milan,  and  else- 
where. —  I  came  into  Italy  to  feel  the  climate  and 
be  quiet,  if  possible.  Mossi's  translation  I  would 
have  prevented,  if  I  had  known  it,  or  could  have 
done  so ;  and  I  trust  that  I  shall  yet  be  in  time  to 
stop  this  new  gentleman,  of  whom  I  heard  yesterday 
for  the  first  time.  He  will  only  hurt  himself,  and  do 
no  good  to  his  party,  for  in  party  the  whole  thing 
originates.  Our  modes  of  thinking  and  writing  are 
so  unutterably  different,  that  I  can  conceive  no 
greater  absurdity  than  attempting  to  make  any  ap- 
proach between  the  English  and  Italian  poetry  of  the 
present  day.  I  like  the  people  very  much,  and  their 
literature  very  much,  but  I  am  not  the  least  ambi- 
tious of  being  the  subject  of  their  discussions  literary 
and  personal  (which  appear  to  be  pretty  much  the 
same  thing,  as  is  the  case  in  most  countries)  ;  and  if 
you  can  aid  me  in  impeding  this  publication,  you  will 
add  to  much  kindness  already  received  from  you  by 
yours  Ever  and  truly, 

"  BYRON. 

"  P.  S.  How  is  the  son,  and  mamma?  Well,  I  dare 

LETTER  310.         TO  MR.  ROGERS. 

"  Venice,  March  3.  1828. 

"  I  have  not,  as  you  say,  *  taken  to  wife  the 
Adriatic.'  I  heard  of  Moore's  loss  from  himself  in 
a  letter  which  was  delayed  upon  the  road  three 

90  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

months.  I  was  sincerely  sorry  for  it,  but  in  such 
cases  what  are  words  ? 

"  The  villa  you  speak  of  is  one  at  Este,  which  Mr. 
Hoppner  (Consul-general  here)  has  transferred  to 
me.  I  have  taken  it  for  two  years  as  a  place  of  Vil- 
leggiatura.  The  situation  is  very  beautiful,  indeed, 
among  the  Euganean  hills,  and  the  house  very  fair. 
The  vines  are  luxuriant  to  a  great  degree,  and  all 
the  fruits  of  the  earth  abundant.  It  is  close  to  the 
old  castle  of  the  Estes,  or  Guelphs,  and  within  a  few 
miles  of  Arqua,  which  I  have  visited  twice,  and  hope 
to  visit  often. 

"  Last  summer  (except  an  excursion  to  Rome)  I 
passed  upon  the  Brenta.  In  Venice  I  winter,  trans- 
porting my  horses  to  the  Lido,  bordering  the  Adriatic 
(where  the  fort  is),  so  that  I  get  a  gallop  of  some 
miles  daily  along  the  strip  of  beach  which  reaches  to 
Malamocco,  when  in  health  ;  but  within  these  few 
weeks  I  have  been  unwell.  At  present  I  am  getting 
better.  The  Carnival  was  short,  but  a  good  one.  I 
don't  go  out  much,  except  during  the  time  of 
masques;  but  there  are  one  or  two  conversazioni, 
where  I  go  regularly,  just  to  keep  up  the  system  ;  as 
I  had  letters  to  their  givers  ;  and  they  are  particu- 
lar on  such  points  ;  and  now  and  then,  though  very 
rarely,  to  the  Governor's. 

"  It  is  a  very  good  place  for  women.  I  like  the 
dialect  and  their  manner  very  much.  There  is  a 
naivete,  about  them  which  is  very  winning,  and  the 
romance  of  the  place  is  a  mighty  adjunct ;  the  bel 
sangue  is  not,  however,  now  amongst  the  dame  or 
higher  orders ;  but  all  under  ifazzioli,  or  kerchiefs 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  91 

(a  white  kind  of  veil  which  the  lower  orders  wear 
upon  their  heads) ; — the  vesta  zendale,  or  old  national 
female  costume,  is  no  more.  The  city,  however,  is 
decaying  daily,  and  does  not  gain  in  population. 
However,  I  prefer  it  to  any  other  in  Italy ;  and  here 
have  I  pitched  my  staff,  and  here  do  I  purpose  to 
reside  for  the  remainder  of  my  life,  unless  events, 
connected  with  business  not  to  be  transacted  out  of 
England,  compel  me  to  return  for  that  purpose  ; 
otherwise  I  have  few  regrets,  and  no  desires  to  visit 
it  again  for  its  own  sake.  I  shall  probably  be  obliged 
to  do  so,  to  sign  papers  for  my  affairs,  and  a  proxy 
for  the  Whigs,  and  to  see  Mr.  Waite,  for  I  can't  find 
a  good  dentist  here,  and  every  two  or  three  years 
one  ought  to  consult  one.  About  seeing  my  children 
I  must  take  my  chance.  One  I  shall  have  sent  here  ; 
and  I  shall  be  very  happy  to  see  the  legitimate  one, 
when  God  pleases,  which  he  perhaps  will  some  day 
or  other.  As  for  my  mathematical  *  *  *,  I  am  as 
well  without  her. 

"  Your  account  of  your  visit  to  Fonthill  is  very 
striking :  could  you  beg  of  him  for  me  a  copy  in  MS. 
of  the  remaining  Tales?*  I  think  I  deserve  them, 
as  a  strenuous  and  public  admirer  of  the  first  one. 
I  will  return  it  when  read,  and  make  no  ill  use  of  the 
copy,  if  granted.  Murray  would  send  me  out  any 
thing  safely.  If  ever  I  return  to  England,  I  should 

*  A  continuation  of  Vathek,  by  the  author  of  that  very 
striking  and  powerful  production.  The  "  Tales  "  of  which 
this  unpublished  sequel  consists  are,  I  understand,  those 
supposed  to  have  been  related  by  the  Princes  in  the  Hall  of 

92  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

like  very  much  to  see  the  author,  with  his  permission. 
In  the  mean  time,  you  could  not  oblige  me  more 
than  by  obtaining  me  the  perusal  I  request,  in 
French  or  English,  —  all's  one  for  that,  though  I 
prefer  Italian  to  either.  I  have  a  French  copy  of 
Vathek  which  I  bought  at  Lausanne.  I  can  read 
French  with  great  pleasure  and  facility,  though  I 
neither  speak  nor  write  it.  Now  Italian  I  can  speak 
with  some  fluency,  and  write  sufficiently  for  my  pur- 
poses, but  I  don't  like  their  modern  prose  at  all ; 
it  is  very  heavy,  and  so  different  from  Machiavelli. 

"  They  say  Francis  is  Junius ;  —  I  think  it  looks 
like  it.  I  remember  meeting  him  at  Earl  Grey's  at 
dinner.  Has  not  he  lately  married  a  young  woman  ; 
and  was  not  he  Madame  Talleyrand's  cavaliere  ser- 
vente  in  India  years  ago  ? 

"  I  read  my  death  in  the  papers,  which  was  not 
true.  I  see  they  are  marrying  the  remaining  single- 
ness of  the  royal  family.  They  have  brought  out 
Fazio  with  great  and  deserved  success  at  Covent 
Garden  :  that's  a  good  sign.  I  tried,  during  the  di- 
rectory, to  have  it  done  at  Drury  Lane,  but  was  over- 
ruled. If  you  think  of  coming  into  this  country,  you 
will  let  me  know  perhaps  beforehand.  I  suppose 
Moore  won't  move.  Rose  is  here.  I  saw  him  the 
other  night  at  Madame  Albrizzi's ;  he  talks  of  re- 
turning in  May.  My  love  to  the  Hollands. 

«  Ever,  &c. 

"  P  S.  They  have  been  crucifying  Othello  into  an 
opera  ( Otello,  by  Rossini) :  the  music  good,  but 
lugubrious ;  but  as  for  the  words,  all  the  real  scenes 
with  lago  cut  out,  and  the  greatest  nonsense  instead ; 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  93 

the  handkerchief  turned  into  a  billet-doux,  and  the 
first  singer  would  not  black  his  face,  for  some  exqui- 
site reasons  assigned  in  the  preface.  Singing,  dresses, 
and  music,  very  good." 

LETTER  311.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Venice,  March  16.  1818. 
"  My  dear  Tom, 

"  Since  my  last,  which  I  hope  that  you  have  re- 
ceived, I  have  had  a  letter  from  our  friend  Samuel. 
He  talks  of  Italy  this  summer  —  won't  you  come 
with  him  ?  I  don't  know  whether  you  would  like 
our  Italian  way  of  life  or  not. 

"  They  are  an  odd  people.  The  other  day  I  was 
telling  a  girl,  '  You  must  not  come  to-morrow,  be- 
cause Margueritta  is  coming  at  such  a  time,' —  (they 
are  both  about  five  feet  ten  inches  high,  with  great 
black  eyes  and  fine  figures  —  fit  to  breed  gladiators 
from  — and  I  had  some  difficulty  to  prevent  a  battle 
upon  a  rencontre  once  before,)  —  '  unless  you  pro- 
mise to  be  friends,  and '  —  the  answer  was  an  inter- 
ruption, by  a  declaration  of  war  against  the  other, 
which  she  said  would  be  a  *  Guerra  di  Candia.'  Is 
it  not  odd,  that  the  lower  order  of  Venetians  should 
still  allude  proverbially  to  that  famous  contest,  so 
glorious  and  so  fatal  to  the  Republic  ? 

"  They  have  singular  expressions,  like  all  the 
Italians.  For  example,  '  Viscere  '  —  as  we  would 
say,  « My  love,'  or  « My  heart,'  as  an  expression  of 
tenderness.  Also,  *  I  would  go  for  you  into  the 
midst  of  a  hundred  knives.' — 'Mazza  ben,'  excessive 

94  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

attachment,  —  literally,  *  I  wish  you  well  even  to 
killing.'  Then  they  say  (instead  of  our  way,  « Do 
you  think  I  would  do  you  so  much  harm?')  'Do  you 
think  I  would  assassinate  you  in  such  a  manner?' — 
*  Tempo  perfido,'  bad  weather ;  '  Strade  perfide,'  bad 
roads,  —  with  a  thousand  other  allusions  and  meta- 
phors, taken  from  the  state  of  society  and  habits  in 
the  middle  ages. 

"  I  am  not  so  sure  about  mazza,  whether  it  don't 
mean  massa,  i.  e.  a  great  deal,  a  mass,  instead  of  the 
interpretation  I  have  given  it.  But  of  the  other 
phrases  I  am  sure. 

"  Three  o'  th'  clock  —  I  must  « to  bed,  to  bed,  to 
bed,'  as  mother  S  *  *  (that  tragical  friend  cf  the 
mathematical  *  *  *)  says. 

"  Have  you  ever  seen  —  I  forget  what  or  whom 
—  no  matter.  They  tell  me  Lady  Melbourne  is 
very  unwell.  I  shall  be  so  sorry.  She  was  my 
greatest  friend,  of  the  feminine  gender  :  —  when  I 
say  '  friend,'  I  mean  not  mistress,  for  that's  the  anti- 
pode.  Tell  me  all  about  you  and  every  body — how 
Sam  is — how  you  like  your  neighbours,  the  Marquis 
and  Marchesa,  &c.  &c. 

"  Ever,"  &c. 

LETTER  312.        TO   MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  March  25.  1818. 

«  I  have  your  letter,  with  the  account  of  <  Beppo,' 
for  which  I  sent  you  four  new  stanzas  a  fortnight 
ago,  in  case  you  print,  or  reprint. 

!818.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  95 

"  Croker's  is  a  good  guess ;  but  the  style  is  not 
English,  it  is  Italian  ;  —  Berni  is  the  original  of  all. 
Whistlecraft  was  my  immediate  model!  Rose's 
*  Animali'  1  never  saw  till  a  few  days  ago,  —  they 
are  excellent.  But  (as  I  said  above)  Berni  is  the 
father  of  that  kind  of  writing,  which,  I  think,  suits 
our  language,  too,  very  well ;  —  we  shall  see  by  the 
experiment.  If  it  does,  I  shall  send  you  a  volume 
in  a  year  or  two,  for  I  know  the  Italian  way  of  life 
well,  and  in  time  may  know  it  yet  better ;  and  as 
for  the  verse  and  the  passions,  I  have  them  still  in 
tolerable  vigour. 

"  If  you  think  that  it  will  do  you  ana  the  work,  or 
works,  any  good,  you  may  put  my  name  to  it ;  but 
first  consult  the  knowing  ones.  It  will,  at  any  rate, 
show  them  that  I  can  write  cheerfully,  and  repel  the 
charge  of  monotony  and  mannerism. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  313.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  April  11.  1818. 

"  Will  you  send  me  by  letter,  packet,  or  parcel, 
half  a  dozen  of  the  coloured  prints  from  Holmes's 
miniature  (the  latter  done  shortly  before  I  left 
your  country,  and  the  prints  about  a  year  ago)  ;  I 
shall  be  obliged  to  you,  as  some  people  here  have 
asked  me  for  the  like.  It  is  a  picture  of  my  upright 
self  done  for  Scrope  B.  Davies,  Esq.  * 

*  There  follows,  in  this  place,  among  other  matter,  a  long 
string  of  verses,  in  various  metres,  to  the  amount  of  about 

96  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

"  Why  have  you  not  sent  me  an  answer,  and  list  of 
subscribers  to  the  translation  of  the  Armenian  Euse- 
bius  ?  of  which  I  sent  you  printed  copies  of  the  pro- 
spectus (in  French)  two  moons  ago.  Have  you  had 
the  letter  ?  — I  shall  send  you  another  :  — you  must 
not  neglect  my  Armenians.  Tooth-powder,  mag- 
nesia, tincture  of  myrrh,  tooth-brushes,  diachylon 
plaster,  Peruvian  bark,  are  my  personal  demands. 

"  Strahan,  Tonson,  Lintot  of  the  times, 
Patron  and  publisher  of  rhymes, 
For  thee  the  bard  up  Pindus  climbs, 
My  Murray. 

"  To  thee,  with  hope  and  terror  dumb, 
The  unfledged  M  S.  authors  come  ; 
Thou  printest  all  —  and  sellest  some  — 
My  Murray. 

"  Upon  thy  table's  baize  so  green 
The  last  new  Quarterly  is  seen, 
But  where  is  thy  new  Magazine, 
My  Murray  ? 

"  Along  thy  sprucest  bookshelves  shine 
The  works  thou  deemest  most  divine  — 
The  '  Art  of  Cookery,'  and  mine, 
My  Murray. 

sixty  lines,  so  full  of  light  gaiety  and  humour,  that  it  is  with 
some  reluctance  I  suppress  them.  They  might,  however,  have 
the  effect  of  giving  pain  in  quarters  where  even  the  author 
himself  would  not  have  deliberately  inflicted  it ;  —  from  a  pen 
like  his,  touches  may  be  wounds,  and  without  being  actually 
intended  as  such. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  97 

"  Tours,  Travels,  Essays,  too,  I  wist, 
And  Sermons  to  thy  mill  bring  grist ! 
And  then  thou  hast  the  «  Navy  List,* 
My  Murray. 

"  And  Heaven  forbid  I  should  conclude 
Without  *  the  Board  of  Longitude,' 
Although  this  narrow  paper  would, 
My  Murray  ! " 

LETTER  314.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"Venice,  April  12.  1818. 

"  This  letter  will  be  delivered  by  Signer  Gioe. 
Bata.  Missiaglia,  proprietor  of  the  Apollo  library, 
and  the  principal  publisher  and  bookseller  now  in 
Venice.  He  sets  out  for  London  with  a  view  to 
business  and  correspondence  with  the  English  book- 
sellers :  and  it  is  in  the  hope  that  it  may  be  for  your 
mutual  advantage  that  I  furnish  him  with  this  letter 
of  introduction  to  you.  If  you  can  be  of  use  to  him, 
either  by  recommendation  to  others,  or  by  any  per- 
sonal attention  on  your  own  part,  you  will  oblige 
him  and  gratify  me.  You  may  also  perhaps  both  be 
able  to  derive  advantage,  or  establish  some  mode  of 
literary  communication,  pleasing  to  the  public,  and 
beneficial  to  one  another. 

"  At  any  rate,  be  civil  to  him  for  my  sake,  as  well 
as  for  the  honour  and  glory  of  publishers  and  authors 
now  and  to  come  for  evermore. 

"  With  him  I  also  consign  a  great  number  of  MS. 
letters  written  in  English,  French,  and  Italian,  by 
various  English  established  in  Italy  during  the  last 

VOL.  IV.  H 

98  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

century:  —  the  names  of  the  writers,  Lord  Hervey, 
Lady  M.  W.  Montague,  (hers  are  but  few  —  some 
billets-doux  in  French  to  Algarotti,  and  one  letter  in 
English,  Italian,  and  all  sorts  of  jargon,  to  the  same,) 
Gray,  the  poet  (one  letter),  Mason  (two  or  three), 
Garrick,  Lord  Chatham,  David  Hume,  and  many  of 
lesser  note,  —  all  addressed  to  Count  Algarotti.  Out 
of  these,  I  think,  with  discretion,  an  amusing  mis- 
cellaneous volume  of  letters  might  be  extracted, 
provided  some  good  editor  were  disposed  to  under- 
take the  selection,  and  preface,  and  a  few  notes,  £c. 
"  The  proprietor  of  these  is  a  friend  of  mine,  Dr. 
Aglietti,  —  a  great  name  in  Italy,  —  and  if  you  are 
disposed  to  publish,  it  will  be  for  his  benefit,  and  it  is 
to  and  for  him  that  you  will  name  a  price,  if  you 
take  upon  you  the  work,  /would  edite  it  myself, 
but  am  too  far  off,  and  too  lazy  to  undertake  it ;  but 
I  wish  that  it  could  be  done.  The  letters  of  Lord 
Hervey, in  Mr.  Rose's*  opinion  and  mine,are  good; 

*  Among  Lord  Byron's  papers,  I  find  some  verses  addressed 
to  him,  about  this  time,  by  Mr.  W.  Rose,  with  the  following 
note  annexed  to  them  :  —  "  These  verses  were  sent  to  me  by 
W.  S.  Rose,  from  Abaro,  in  the  spring  of  1818.  They  are 
good  and  true  ;  and  Rose  is  a  fine  fellow,  and  one  of  the  few 
English  who  understand  Italy,  without  which  Italian  is  nothing." 
The  verses  begin  thus : 

"  Byron  f,  while  you  make  gay  what  circle  fits  ye, 
Bandy  Venetian  slang  with  the  Benzon, 
Or  play  at  company  with  the  Albrizzi, 

t  "  I  have  hunted  out  a  precedent  for  this  unceremonious 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  99 

and  the  short  French  love  letters  certainly  are  Lady 
M.  W.  Montague's  —  the  French  not  good,  but  the 
sentiments  beautiful.  Gray's  letter  good ;  and 
Mason's  tolerable.  The  whole  correspondence  must 
be  well  weeded ;  but  this  being  done,  a  small  and 
pretty  popular  volume  might  be  made  of  it. — There 
are  many  ministers'  letters  —  Gray,  the  ambassador 
at  Naples,  Horace  Mann,  and  others  of  the  same 
kind  of  animal. 

"  I  thought  of  a  preface,  defending  Lord  Hervey 
against  Pope's  attack,  but  Pope  —  quoad  Pope,  the 
poet  —  against  all  the  world,  in  the  unjustifiable 
attempts  begun  by  Warton  and  carried  on  at  this 
day  by  the  new  school  of  critics  and  scribblers,  who 
think  themselves  poets  because  they  do  not  write 
like  Pope.  I  have  no  patience  with  such  cursed 
humbug  and  bad  taste ;  your  whole  generation  are 
not  worth  a  Canto  of  the  Rape  of  the  Lock,  or  the 
Essay  on  Man,  or  the  Dunciad,  or  '  any  thing  that 
is  his.'  —  But  it  is  three  in  the  matin,  and  I  must  go 
to  bed.  Yours  alway,"  &c. 

LETTER  315.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  April  17.  1818. 

"  A  few  days  ago,  I  wrote  to  you  a  letter,  requesting 
vou  to  desire  Hanson  to  desire  his  messenger  to 

The  self-pleased  pedant,  and  patrician  crone, 
Grimanis,  Mocenigos,  Balbis,  Rizzi, 
Compassionate  our  cruel  case,  —  alone, 
Our  pleasure  an  academy  of  frogs, 
Who  nightly  serenade  us  from  the  bogs,"  &c.  &c. 
H    2 

100  .        NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

come  on  from  Geneva  to  Venice,  because  I  won't  go 
from  Venice  to  Geneva  ;  and  if  this  is  not  done,  the 
messenger  may  be  damned,  with  him  who  mis-sent 
him.  Pray  reiterate  my  request. 
•  "  With  the  proofs  returned,  I  sent  two  additional 
stanzas  for  Canto  fourth  :  did  they  arrive  ? 

"  Your  Monthly  reviewer  has  made  a  mistake : 
Cavaliere,  alone,  is  well  enough;  but  'Cavalier' 
servente'  has  always  the  e  mute  in  conversation,  and 
omitted  in  writing  ;  so  that  it  is  not  for  the  sake  of 
metre;  and  pray  let  Griffiths  know  this,  with  my 
compliments.  I  humbly  conjecture  that  I  know  as 
much  of  Italian  society  and  language  as  any  of  his 
people  ;  but,  to  make  assurance  doubly  sure,  I  asked, 
at  the  Countess  Benzona's  last  night,  the  question 
of  more  than  one  person  in  the  office,  and  of  these 

*  cavalierz  serventz'  (in  the  plural,  recollect)  I  found 
that  they  all  accorded  in  pronouncing  for  '  cavalier* 
servente'  in  the  singular  number.    I  wish  Mr.  *  *  *  * 
(or  whoever  Griffiths'  scribbler  may  be)  would  not 
talk  of  what  he  don't  understand.     Such  fellows  are 
not  fit  to  be  intrusted  with  Italian,  even  in  a  quota- 

"  Did  you  receive  two  additional  stanzas,  to  be  in- 
serted towards  the  close  of  Canto  fourth  ?  Respond, 
that  (if  not)  they  may  be  sent. 

*  "  Tell  Mr.  *  *  and  Mr.  Hanson  that  they  may  as 
well  expect  Geneva  to  come  to  me,  as  that  I  should 
go  to  Geneva.     The  messenger  may  go  on  or  return, 
as  he  pleases ;  I  won't  stir :  and  I  look  upon  it  as  a 
piece  of  singular  absurdity  in  those  who  know  me 
imagining  that  I  should;  —  not  to  say  malice,  in 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  101 

attempting  unnecessary  torture.    If,  on  the  occasion, 
my  interests  should  suffer,  it  is  their  neglect  that  is 
to  blame ;  and  they  may  all  be  d — d  together. 
"  It  is  ten  o'clock  and  time  to  dress. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  316.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  April  23.  1818. 

"  The  time  is  past  in  which  I  could  feel  for  the 
dead,  —  or  I  should  feel  for  the  death  of  Lady 
Melbourne,  the  best,  and  kindest,  and  ablest  female 
I  ever  knew,  old  or  young.  But  *  I  have  supped 
full  of  horrors,'  and  events  of  this  kind  have  only  a 
kind  of  numbness  worse  than  pain,  —  like  a  violent 
blow  on  the  elbow  or  the  head.  There  is  one  link 
less  between  England  and  myself. 

"  Now  to  business.  I  presented  you  with  Beppo, 
as  part  of  the  contract  for  Canto  fourth, — consider- 
ing the  price  you  are  to  pay  for  the  same,  and  in- 
tending to  eke  you  out  in  case  of  public  caprice  or 
my  own  poetical  failure.  If  you  choose  to  suppress 
it  entirely,  at  Mr.  *  *  *  *'s  suggestion,  you  may  do 
as  you  please.  But  recollect  it  is  not  to  be  published 
in  a  garbled  or  mutilated  state.  I  reserve  to  my 
friends  and  myself  the  right  of  correcting  the  press ; 
— if  the  publication  continue,  it  is  to  continue  in  its 
present  form. 

"  As  Mr.  *  *  says  that  he  did  not  write  this  letter, 

&c.  I  am  ready  to  believe  him  ;  but  for  the  firmness 

of  my  former  persuasion,  I  refer  to  Mr.  *  *  *  *,  who 

can  inform  you  how  sincerely  I  erred  on  this  point. 

H  3 

102  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

He  has  also  the  note  —  or,  at  least,  had  it,  for  I  gave 
it  to  him  with  my  verbal  comments  thereupon.  As 
to  *  Beppo,'  I  will  not  alter  or  suppress  a  syllable 
for  any  man's  pleasure  but  my  own. 

"  You  may  tell  them  this ;  and  add,  that  nothing 
but  force  or  necessity  shall  stir  me  one  step  towards 
places  to  which  they  would  wring  me. 

"If your  literary  matters  prosper  let  me  know. 
If'  Beppo'  pleases,  you  shall  have  more  in  a  year  or 
two  in  the  same  mood.  And  so  '  Good  morrow  to 
you,  good  Master  Lieutenant.'  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  317.          TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Palazzo  Mocenigo,  Canal  Grande, 
"  Venice,  June  1.  1818. 

"  Your  letter  is  almost  the  only  news,  as  yet,  of 
Canto  fourth,  and  it  has  by  no  means  settled  its  fate, 

—  at  least,  does  not  tell  me  how  the  '  Poeshie'  has 
been  received  by  the   public.     But  I  suspect,  no 
great  things,  —  firstly,  from  Murray's 'horrid  still- 
ness ;'  secondly,  from  what  you  say  about  the  stanzas 
running  into  each  other*,  which  I  take  not  to  be 
yours,  but  a  notion  you  have  been  dinned  with  among 
the  Blues.     The  fact  is,  that  the  terza  rima  of  the 
Italians,  which  always  runs  on  and  in,  may  have  led 
me  into  experiments,  and  carelessness  into  conceit 

—  or  conceit  into  carelessness  —  in  either  of  which 
events  failure  will  be  probable,  and  my  fair  woman, 

*  I  had  said,  I  think,  in  my  letter  to  him,  that  this  practice 
of  carrying  one  stanza  into  another  was  "  something  like  taking 
on  horses  another  stage  without  baiting." 

i818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  103 

'  superne,'  end  in  a  fish  ;  so  that  Childe  Harold  will 
be  like  the  mermaid,  my  family  crest,  with  the 
fourth  Canto  for  a  tail  thereunto.  I  won't  quarrel 
with  the  public,  however,  for  the  *  Bulgars'  are 
generally  right ;  and  if  I  miss  now,  I  may  hit  another 
time  :  —  and  so,  the  '  gods  give  us  joy.' 

"  You  like  Beppo,  that's  right.  I  have  not  had 
the  Fudges  yet,  but  live  in  hopes.  I  need  not  say 
that  your  successes  are  mine.  By  the  way,  Lydia 
White  is  here,  and  has  just  borrowed  my  copy  of 
1  Lalla  Rookh.' 

"  Hunt's  letter  is  probably  the  exact  piece  of 
vulgar  coxcombry  you  might  expect  from  his  situa- 
tion. He  is  a  good  man,  with  some  poetical  elements 
in  his  chaos ;  but  spoilt  by  the  Christ- Church  Hos- 
pital and  a  Sunday  newspaper,  —  to  say  nothing  of 
the  Surrey  gaol,  which  conceited  him  into  a  martyr. 
But  he  is  a  good  man.  When  I  saw  <  Rimini '  in 
MS.,  I  told  him  that  I  deemed  it  good  poetry  at 
bottom,  disfigured  only  by  a  strange  style.  His 
answer  was,  that  his  style  was  a  system,  or  upon 
system,  or  some  such  cant ;  and,  when  a  man  talks 
of  system,  his  case  is  hopeless :  so  I  said  no  more 
to  him,  and  very  little  to  any  one  else. 

"  He  believes  his  trash  of  vulgar  phrases  tortured 
into  compound  barbarisms  to  be  old  English  ;  and  we 
may  say  of  it  as  Aimwell  says  of  Captain  Gibbet's 
regiment,  when  the  Captain  calls  it  an  '  old  corps,' 
— «  the  oldest  in  Europe,  if  I  may  judge  by  your  uni- 
form.' He  sent  out  his  '  Foliage  '  by  Percy  Shelley 
*  *  *,  and,  of  all  the  ineffable  Centaurs  that  were 
ever  begotten  by  Self-love  upon  a  Night-mare,  I  think 

104?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

this  monstrous  Sagittary  the  most  prodigious.  He 
(Leigh  H.)  is  an  honest  charlatan,  who  has  per- 
suaded himself  into  a  belief  of  his  own  impostures, 
and  talks  Punch  in  pure  simplicity  of  heart,  taking 
himself  (as  poor  Fitzgerald  said  of  himself  in  the 
Morning  Post)  for  Votes  in  both  senses,  or  nonsenses, 
of  the  word.  Did  you  look  at  the  translations  of  his 
own  which  he  prefers  to  Pope  and  Cowper,  and  says 
so  ?  —  Did  you  read  his  skimble-skamble  about  *  * 
being  at  the  head  of  his  own  profession.,  in  the  eyes  of 
those  who  followed  it  ?  I  thought  that  poetry  was 
an  art,  or  an  attribute,  and  not  a  profession ; — but  be 
it  one,  is  that  ******  at  the  head  of  your  profes- 
sion in  your  eyes  ?  I'll  be  curst  if  he  is  of  mine,  or 
ever  shall  be.  He  is  the  only  one  of  us  (but  of  us  he 
is  not)  whose  coronation  I  would  oppose.  Let  them 
take  Scott,  Campbell,  Crabbe,  or  you,  or  me,  or  any 
of  the  living,  and  throne  him ;  —  but  not  this  new 
Jacob  Behmen,  this  ******  whose  pride  might 
have  kept  him  true,  even  had  his  principles  turned 
as  perverted  as  his  soi-disant  poetry. 

"  But  Leigh  Hunt  is  a  good  man,  and  a  good 
father  —  see  his  Odes  to  all  the  Masters  Hunt ;  — 
a  good  husband  —  see  his  Sonnet  to  Mrs.  Hunt ;  — 
a  good  friend — see  his  Epistles  to  different  people  ; 
•i—  and  a  great  coxcomb  and  a  very  vulgar  person 
in  every  thing  about  him.  But  that's  not  his  fault, 
but  of  circumstances.* 

*  I  had,  in  first  transcribing  the  above  letter  for  the  press, 
omitted  the  whole  of  this  caustic,  and,  perhaps,  over-severe 
character  of  Mr.  Hunt ;  but  the  tone  of  that  gentleman's  book 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  105 

"  I  do  not  know  any  good  model  for  a  life  of 
Sheridan  but  that  of  Savage.  Recollect,  however, 
that  the  life  of  such  a  man  may  be  made  far  more 
amusing  than  if  he  had  been  a  Wilberforce  ;  —  and 
this  without  offending  the  living,  or  insulting  the 
dead.  The  Whigs  abuse  him  ;  however,  he  never 
left  them,  and  such  blunderers  deserve  neither  credit 
nor  compassion.  As  for  his  creditors, — remember, 
Sheridan  never  had  a  shilling,  and  was  thrown,  with 
great  powers  and  passions,  into  the  thick  of  the 
world,  and  placed  upon  the  pinnacle  of  success, 
with  no  other  external  means  to  support  him  in  his 
elevation.  Did  Fox  *  *  *  pay  his  debts  ?  —  or  did 
Sheridan  take  a  subscription  ?  Was  the  *  *  's  drunk- 
enness more  excusable  than  his  ?  Were  his  intrigues 
more  notorious  than  those  of  all  his  contemporaries  ? 
and  is  his  memory  to  be  blasted,  and  theirs  re- 
spected ?  Don't  let  yourself  be  led  away  by  clamour, 
but  compare  him  with  the  coalitioner  Fox,  and  the 
pensioner  Burke,  as  a  man  of  principle,  and  with 
ten  hundred  thousand  in  personal  views,  and  with 
none  in  talent,  for  he  beat  them  all  out  and  out. 
Without  means,  without  connection,  without  char- 
acter, (which  might  be  false  at  first,  and  make  him 
mad  afterwards  from  desperation,)  he  beat  them  all, 
in  all  he  ever  attempted.  But  alas,  poor  human 
nature  !  Good  night  —  or  rather,  morning.  It  is 
four,  and  the  dawn  gleams  over  the  Grand  Canal, 

having,  as  far  as  himself  is  concerned,  released  me  from  all 
those  scruples  which  prompted  the  suppression,  I  have  con- 
sidered myself  at  liberty  to  restore  the  passage. 

106  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

and  unshadows  the  Rialto.  I  must  to  bed ;  up  all 
night — but,  as  George  Philpot  says, '  it's  life,  though, 
damme,  it's  life  ! '  Ever  yours,  B. 

"  Excuse  errors — no  time  for  revision.  The  post 
goes  out  at  noon,  and  I  sha'n't  be  up  then.  I  will 
write  again  soon  about  your  plan  for  a  publication." 

During  the  greater  part  of  the  period  which  this 
last  series  of  letters  comprises,  he  had  continued  to 
occupy  the  same  lodgings  in  an  extremely  narrow 
street  called  the  Spezieria,  at  the  house  of  the  linen- 
draper,  to  whose  lady  he  devoted  so  much  of  his 
thoughts.  That  he  was,  for  the  time,  attached  to  this 
person,  —  as  far  as  a  passion  so  transient  can  deserve 
the  name  of  attachment,  —  is  evident  from  his  whole 
conduct.  The  language  of  his  letters  shows  suffi- 
ciently how  much  the  novelty  of  this  foreign  tie  had 
caught  his  fancy ;  and  to  the  Venetians,  among  whom 
such  arrangements  are  mere  matters  of  course,  the 
assiduity  with  which  he  attended  his  Signora  to  the 
theatre,  and  the  ridottos,  was  a  subject  of  much 
armisement.  It  was  with  difficulty,  indeed,  that  he 
could  be  prevailed  upon  to  absent  himself  from  her 
so  long  as  to  admit  of  that  hasty  visit  to  the  Immortal 
City,  out  of  which  one  of  his  own  noblest  titles  to 
immortality  sprung ;  and  having,  in  the  space  of  a 
few  weeks,  drunk  in  more  inspiration  from  all  he 
saw  than,  in  a  less  excited  state,  possibly,  he  might 
have  imbibed  in  years,  he  again  hurried  back,  with- 
out extending  his  journey  to  Naples,  —  having  writ- 
ten to  the  fair  Marianna  to  meet  him  at  some 
distance  from  Venice. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  107 

Besides  some  seasonable  acts  of  liberality  to  the 
husband,  who  had,  it  seems,  failed  in  trade,  he 
also  presented  to  the  lady  herself  a  handsome  set 
of  diamonds ;  and  there  is  an  anecdote  related  in 
reference  to  this  gift,  which  shows  the  exceeding 
easiness  and  forbearance  of  his  disposition  towards 
those  who  had  acquired  any  hold  on  his  heart.  A 
casket,  which  was  for  sale,  being  one  day  offered  to 
him,  he  was  not  a  little  surprised  on  discovering  them 
to  be  the  same  jewels  which  he  had,  not  long  be- 
fore, presented  to  his  fair  favourite,  and  which  had, 
by  some  unromantic  means,  found  their  way  back  into 
the  market.  Without  enquiring,  however,  any  further 
into  the  circumstances,  he  generously  repurchased 
the  casket  and  presented  it  to  the  lady  once  more, 
good-humouredly  taxing  her  with  the  very  little 
estimation  in  which,  as  it  appeared,  she  held  his 

To  whatever  extent  this  unsentimental  incident 
may  have  had  a  share  in  dispelling  the  romance  of 
his  passion,  it  is  certain  that,  before  the  expiration 
of  the  first  twelvemonth,  he  began  to  find  his  lodg- 
ings in  the  Spezieria  inconvenient,  and  accordingly 
entered  into  treaty  with  Count  Gritti  for  his  Palace 
on  the  Grand  Canal,  —  engaging  to  give  for  it,  what 
is  considered,  I  believe,  a  large  rent  in  Venice,  200 
louis  a  year.  On  finding,  however,  that,  in  the 
counterpart  of  the  lease  brought  for  his  signature,  a 
new  clause  had  been  introduced,  prohibiting  him  not 
only  from  underletting  the  house,  in  case  he  should 
leave  Venice,  but  from  even  allowing  any  of  his  own 
friends  to  occupy  it  during  his  occasional  absence, 

108  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

he  declined  closing  on  such  terms ;  and  resenting 
so  material  a  departure  from  the  original  engagement, 
declared  in  society,  that  he  would  have  no  objection 
to  give  the  same  rent,  though  acknovvleged  to 
be  exorbitant,  for  any  other  palace  in  Venice, 
however  inferior,  in  all  respects,  to  Count  Gritti's. 
After  such  an  announcement,  he  was  not  likely  to 
remain  long  unhoused ;  and  the  Countess  Mocenigo 
having  offered  him  one  of  her  three  Palazzi,  on  the 
Grand  Canal,  he  removed  to  this  house  in  the  sum- 
mer of  the  present  year,  and  continued  to  occupy  it 
during  the  remainder  of  his  stay  in  Venice. 

Highly  censurable,  in  point  of  morality  and  deco- 
rum, as  was  his  course  of  life  while  under  the  roof 
of  Madame  *  *,  it  was  (with  pain  I  am  forced  to 
confess)  venial  in  comparison  with  the  strange, 
headlong  career  of  licence  to  which,  when  weaned 
from  that  connection,  he  so  unrestrainedly  and,  it 
may  be  added,  defyingly  abandoned  himself.  Of 
the  state  of  his  mind  on  leaving  England  I  have 
already  endeavoured  to  convey  some  idea,  and, 
among  the  feelings  that  went  to  make  up  that  self- 
centred  spirit  of  resistance  which  he  then  opposed 
to  his  fate,  was  an  indignant  scorn  of  his  own  coun- 
trymen for  the  wrongs  he  thought  they  had  done 
him.  For  a  time,  the  kindly  sentiments  which  he 
still  harboured  towards  Lady  Byron,  and  a  sort  of 
vague  hope,  perhaps,  that  all  would  yet  come  right 
again,  kept  his  mind  in  a  mood  somewhat  more 
softened  and  docile,  as  well  as  sufficiently  under  the 
influence  of  English  opinion  to  prevent  his  breaking 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LOUD    BYRON.  109 

out  into  such  open  rebellion  against  it,  as  he  unluckily 
did  afterwards. 

By  the  failure  of  the  attempted  mediation  with 
Lady  Byron,  his  last  link  with  home  was  severed ; 
while,  notwithstanding  the  quiet  and  unobtrusive 
life  which  he  had  led  at  Geneva,  there  was  as  yet, 
he  found,  no  cessation  of  the  slanderous  warfare 
against  his  character  ;  —  the  same  busy  and  misre- 
presenting spirit  which  had  tracked  his  every  step 
at  home  having,  with  no  less  malicious  watchfulness, 
dogged  him  into  exile.  To  this  persuasion,  for 
which  he  had  but  too  much  grounds,  was  added  all 
that  an  imagination  like  his  could  lend  to  truth,  — 
all  that  he  was  left  to  interpret,  in  his  own  way,  of 
the  absent  and  the  silent,  —  till,  at  length,  arming 
himself  against  fancied  enemies  and  wrongs,  and, 
with  the  condition  (as  it  seemed  to  him)  of  an  out- 
law, assuming  also  the  desperation,  he  resolved,  as 
his  countrymen  would  not  do  justice  to  the  better 
parts  of  his  nature,  to  have,  at  least,  the  perverse 
satisfaction  of  braving  and  shocking  them  with  the 
worst.  It  is  to  this  feeling,  I  am  convinced,  far 
more  than  to  any  depraved  taste  for  such  a  course 
of  life,  that  the  extravagances  to  which  he  now,  for 
a  short  time,  gave  loose,  are  to  be  attributed.  The 
exciting  effect,  indeed,  of  this  mode  of  existence 
while  it  lasted,  both  upon  his  spirits  and  his  genius, 
— so  like  what,  as  he  himself  tells  us,  was  always  pro- 
duced in  him  by  a  state  of  contest  and  defiance,  — 
showed  how  much  of  this  latter  feeling  must  have 
been  mixed  with  his  excesses.  The  altered  cha- 
racter too,  of  his  letters  in  this  respect  cannot  fail, 

110  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

I  think,  to  be  remarked  by  the  reader,  —  there 
being,  with  an  evident  increase  of  intellectual  vigour, 
a  tone  of  violence  and  bravado  breaking  out  in  them 
continually,  which  marks  the  high  pitch  of  re-action 
to  which  he  had  now  wound  up  his  temper. 

In  fact,  so  far  from  the  powers  of  his  intellect 
being  at  all  weakened  or  dissipated  by  these  irregu- 
larities, he  was,  perhaps,  at  no  time  of  his  life,  so 
actively  in  the  full  possession  of  all  its  energies ;  and 
his  friend  Shelley,  who  went  to  Venice,  at  this  pe- 
riod, to  see  him  *,  used  to  say,  that  all  he  observed  of 

*  The  following  are  extracts  from  a  letter  of  Shelley's  to  a 
friend  at  this  time. 

"  Venice,  August,  1818. 

"  We  came  from  Padua  hither  in  a  gondola ;  and  the  gon- 
dolier, among  other  things,  without  any  hint  on  our  part,  be- 
gan talking  of  Lord  Byron.  He  said  he  was  a  *  Giovanotto 
Inglese,'  with  a  '  nome  stravagante,'  who  lived  very  luxuri- 
ously, and  spent  great  sums  of  money. 

"  At  three  o'clock  I  called  on  Lord  Byron.  He  was  delighted 
to  see  me,  and  our  first  conversation  of  course  consisted  in  the 
object  of  our  visit.  He  took  me  in  his  gondola,  across  the 
Laguna,  to  a  long,  strandy  sand,  which  defends  Venice  from 
the  Adriatic.  When  we  disembarked,  we  found  his  horses 
waiting  for  us,  and  we  rode  along  the  sands,  talking.  Our 
conversation  consisted  in  histories  of  his  own  wounded  feelings, 
and  questions  as  to  my  affairs,  with  great  professions  of  friend- 
ship and  regard  for  me.  He  said  that  if  he  had  been  in 
England,  at  the  time  of  the  Chancery  affair,  he  would  have 
moved  heaven  and  earth  to  have  prevented  such  a  decision. 
He  talked  of  literary  matters,  —  his  fourth  Canto,  which  he 
says  is  very  good,  and  indeed  repeated  some  stanzas,  of  great 
energy,  to  me.  When  we  returned  to  his  palace,  which  is  one 
^f  the  most  magnificent  in  Venice,"  &c.  &c. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  Ill 

the  workings  of  Byron's  mind,  during  his  visit,  gave 
him  a  far  higher  idea  of  its  powers  than  he  had  ever 
before  entertained.  It  was,  indeed,  then  that  Shelley 
sketched  out,  and  chiefly  wrote,  his  poem  of  "  Ju- 
lian and  Maddalo,"  in  the  latter  of  which  personages 
he  has  so  picturesquely  shadowed  forth  his  noble 
friend  *  ;  and  the  allusions  to  "  the  Swan  of  Albion," 
in  his  "  Lines  written  among  the  Euganean  Hills," 
were  also,  I  understand,  the  result  of  the  same 
access  of  admiration  and  enthusiasm. 

In  speaking  of  the  Venetian  women,  in  one  of  the 

*  In  the  preface  also  to  this  poem,  under  the  fictitious  name 
of  Count  Maddalo,  the  following  just  and  striking  portrait  of 
Lord  Byron  is  drawn  :  — 

"  He  is  a  person  of  the  most  consummate  genius,  and  capa- 
ble, if  he  would  direct  his  energies  to  such  an  end,  of  becoming 
the  redeemer  of  his  degraded  country.  But  it  is  his  weakness 
to  be  proud :  he  derives,  from  a  comparison  of  his  own  ex- 
traordinary mind  with  the  dwarfish  intellects  that  surround  him, 
an  intense  apprehension  of  the  nothingness  of  human  life.  His 
passions  and  his  powers  are  incomparably  greater  than  those  of 
other  men,  and  instead  of  the  latter  having  been  employed  in 
curbing  the  former,  they  have  mutually  lent  each  other  strength. 
His  ambition  preys  upon  itself  for  want  of  objects  which  it  can 
consider  worthy  of  exertion.  I  say  that  Maddalo  is  proud, 
because  I  can  find  no  other  word  to  express  the  concentred  and 
impatient  feelings  which  consume  him ;  but  it  is  on  his  own 
hopes  and  affections  only  that  he  seems  to  trample,  for  in  social 
life  no  human  being  can  be  more  gentle,  patient,  and  un- 
assuming than  Maddalo.  He  is  cheerful,  frank,  and  witty. 
His  more  serious  conversation  is  a  sort  of  intoxication.  He 
has  travelled  much  ;  and  there  is  an  inexpressible  charm  in  his 
relation  of  his  adventures  in  different  countries. " 

112  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

preceding  letters,  Lord  Byron,  it  will  be  recollected, 
remarks,  that  the  beauty  for  which  they  were  once 
so  celebrated  is  no  longer  now  to  be  found  among 
the  "  Dame,"  or  higher  orders,  but  all  under  the 
"  fazzioli,"  or  kerchiefs,  of  the  lower.  It  was, 
unluckily,  among  these  latter  specimens  of  the 
"  bel  sangue  "  of  Venice  that  he  now,  by  a  sudden- 
ness of  descent  in  the  scale  of  refinement,  for  which 
nothing  but  the  present  wayward  state  of  his  mind 
can  account,  chose  to  select  the  companions  of  his 
disengaged  hours ;  —  and  an  additional  proof  that,  in 
this  short,  daring  career  of  libertinism,  he  was  but 
desperately  seeking  relief  for  a  wronged  and  mor- 
tified spirit,  and 

"  What  to  us  seem'd  guilt  might  be  but  woe,"  — 

is  that,  more  than  once,  of  an  evening,  when  his 
house  has  been  in  the  possession  of  such  visitants, 
he  has  been  known  to  hurry  away  in  his  gondola, 
and  pass  the  greater  part  of  the  night  upon  the 
water,  as  if  hating  to  return  to  his  home.  It  is,  in- 
deed, certain,  that  to  this  least  defensible  portion  of 
his  whole  life  he  always  looked  back,  during  the 
short  remainder  of  it,  with  painful  self-reproach; 
and  among  the  causes  of  the  detestation  which  he 
afterwards  felt  for  Venice,  this  recollection  of  the 
excesses  to  which  he  had  there  abandoned  himself 
was  not  the  least  prominent. 

The  most  distinguished  and,  at  last,  the  reigning 
favourite  of  all  this  unworthy  Harem  was  a  woman 
named  Margarita  Cogni,  who  has  been  already  men- 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON  113 

tioned  in  one  of  these  letters,  and  who,  from  the 
trade  of  her  husband,  was  known  by  the  title  of  the 
Fornarina.  A  portrait  of  this  handsome  virago, 
drawn  by  Harlowe  when  at  Venice,  having  fallen 
into  the  hands  of  one  of  Lord  Byron's  friends  after 
the  death  of  that  artist,  the  noble  poet,  on  being  ap- 
plied to  for  some  particulars  of  his  heroine,  wrote  a 
long  letter  on  the  subject,  from  which  the  following 
are  extracts :  — 

"  Since  you  desire  the  story  of  Margarita  Cogni, 
you  shall  be  told  it,  though  it  may  be  lengthy, 

"  Her  face  is  the  fine  Venetian  cast  of  the  old 
time  ;  her  figure,  though  perhaps  too  tall,  is  not  less 
fine  —  and  taken  altogether  in  the  national  dress. 

"  In  the  summer  of  181 7,  ****  and  myself  were 
sauntering  on  horseback  along  the  Brenta  one  even- 
ing, when,  amongst  a  group  of  peasants,  we  re- 
marked two  girls  as  the  prettiest  we  had  seen  for 
some  time.  About  this  period,  there  had  been 
great  distress  in  the  country,  and  I  had  a  little  re- 
lieved some  of  the  people.  Generosity  makes  a 
great  figure  at  very  little  cost  in  Venetian  livres, 
and  mine  had  probably  been  exaggerated  as  an  En- 
glishman's. Whether  they  remarked  us  looking  at 
them  or  no,  I  know  not ;  but  one  of  them  called  out 
to  me  in  Venetian,  '  Why  do  not  you,  who  relieve 
others,  think  of  us  also  ?'  I  turned  round  and  an- 
swered her — <Cara,  tu  sei  troppo  bella  e  giovane 
per  aver'  bisogna  del*  soccorso  mio.'  She  answered, 
« If  you  saw  my  hut  and  my  food,  you  would  not  say 
so.'  All  this  passed  half  jestingly,  and  I  saw  no 
more  of  her  for  some  days. 

VOL.  IV.  I 

114  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

«  A  few  evenings  after,  we  met  with  these  two 
girls  again,  and  they  addressed  us  more  seriously, 
assuring  us  of  the  truth  of  their  statement.  They 
were  cousins ;  Margarita  married,  the  other  single. 
As  I  doubted  still  of  the  circumstances,  I  took  the 
business  in  a  different  light,  and  made  an  appoint- 
ment with  them  for  the  next  evening.  In  short,  in 
a  few  evenings  we  arranged  our  affairs,  and  for  a 
long  space  of  time  she  was  the  only  one  who  pre- 
served over  me  an  ascendency  which  was  often 
disputed,  and  never  impaired. 

"  The  reasons  of  this  were,  firstly,  her  person  ;  — 
very  dark,  tall,  the  Venetian  face,  very  fine  black 
eyes.  She  was  two-and-twenty  years  old,  *  *  * 
She  was,  besides,  a  thorough  Venetian  in  her  dialect, 
in  her  thoughts,  in  her  countenance,  in  every  thing, 
with  all  their  naivete  and  pantaloon  humour.  Be- 
sides, she  could  neither  read  nor  write,  and  could 
not  plague  me  with  letters, — except  twice  that  she 
paid  sixpence  to  a  public  scribe,  under  the  piazza, 
to  make  a  letter  for  her,  upon  some  occasion  when 
I  was  ill  and  could  not  see  her.  In  other  respects,  she 
was  somewhat  fierce  and  *  prepotente,'  that  is,  over- 
bearing, and  used  to  walk  in  whenever  it  suited  her, 
with  no  very  great  regard  to  time,  place, '  nor  per- 
sons ;  and  if  she  found  any  women  in  her  way,  she 
knocked  them  down. 

"  When  I  first  knew  her,  I  was  in  « relazione ' 
(liaison)  with  la  Signora  *  *,  who  was  silly  enough 
one  evening  at  Dolo,  accompanied  by  some  of  her 
female  friends,  to  threaten  her ;  for  the  gossips  of 
the  villeggiatura  had  already  found  out,  by  the 

1818.  LIFE    OP    LORD    BYRON.  115 

neighing  of  my  horse  one  evening,  that  I  used  to 
*  ride  late  in  the  night '  to  meet  the  Fornarina.  Mar- 
garita threw  back  her  veil  (fazziolo),  and  replied  in 
very  explicit  Venetian,  *  You  are  not  his  wife:  I 
am  not  his  wife :  you  are  his  Donna,  and  /  am  his 
Donna:  your  husband  is  a  becco,  and  mine  is 
another.  For  the  rest,  what  right  have  you  to 
reproach  me  ?  If  he  prefers  me  to  you,  is  it  my 
fault?  If  you  wish  to  secure  him,  tie  him  to  your 
petticoat-string.  —  But  do  not  think  to  speak  to  me 
without  a  reply,  because  you  happen  to  be  richer 
than  I  am.'  Having  delivered  this  pretty  piece  of 
eloquence  (which  I  translate  as  it  was  related  to  me 
by  a  bystander),  she  went  on  her  way,  leaving  a  nu- 
merous audience  with  Madame  *  *,  to  ponder  at  her 
leisure  on  the  dialogue  between  them. 

"  When  I  came  to  Venice  for  the  winter,  she  fol- 
lowed ;  and  as  she  found  herself  out  to  be  a  favourite, 
she  came  to  me  pretty  often.  But  she  had  inordi- 
nate self-love,  and  was  not  tolerant  of  other  women. 
At  the  c  Cavalchina,'  the  masked  ball  on  the  last 
night  of  the  carnival,  where  all  the  world  goes,  she 
snatched  off  the  mask  of  Madame  Contarini,  a  lady 
noble  by  birth,  and  decent  in  conduct,  for  no  other 
reason,  but  because  she  happened  to  be  leaning  on 
my  arm.  You  may  suppose  what  a  cursed  noise 
this  made  ;  but  this  is  only  one  of  her  pranks. 

"  At  last  she  quarrelled  with  her  husband,  and  one 
evening  ran  away  to  my  house.  I  told  her  this  would 
not  do  :  she  said  she  would  lie  in  the  street,  but  not  go 
back  to  him  ;  that  he  beat  her,  (the  gentle  tigress  !) 
spent  her  money,  and  scandalously  neglected  her. 
i  2 

116  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

As  it  was  midnight  I  let  her  stay,  and  next  day  there 
was  no  moving  her  at  all.  Her  husband  came,  roar- 
ing and  crying,  and  entreating  her  to  come  back  : — 
not  she  I  He  then  applied  to  the  police,  and  they 
applied  to  me:  I  told  them  and  her  husband  to  take 
her ;  I  did  not  want  her ;  she  had  come,  and  I  could  not 
fling  her  out  of  the  window ;  but  they  might  conduct 
her  through  that  or  the  door  if  they  chose  it.  She 
went  before  the  commissary,  but  was  obliged  to 
return  with  that  <  becco  ettico,'  as  she  called  the 
poor  man,  who  had  a  phthisic.  In  a  few  days  she 
ran  away  again.  After  a  precious  piece  of  work, 
she  fixed  herself  in  my  house,  really  and  truly  with- 
out my  consent ;  but,  owing  to  my  indolence,  and 
not  being  able  to  keep  my  countenance,  for  if  I  began 
in  a  rage,  she  always  finished  by  making  me  laugh 
with  some  Venetian  pantaloonery  or  another  ;  and 
the  gipsy  knew  this  well  enough,  as  well  as  her  other 
powers  of  persuasion,  and  exerted  them  with  the 
usual  tact  and  success  of  all  she-things ;  high  and 
low,  they  are  all  alike  for  that. 

"  Madame  Benzoni  also  took  her  under  her  pro- 
tection, and  then  her  head  turned.  She  was  always 
in  extremes,  either  crying  or  laughing,  and  so  fierce 
when  angered,  that  she  was  the  terror  of  men, 
women,  and  children  —  for  she  had  the  strength  of 
an  Amazon,  with  the  temper  of  Medea.  She  was  a 
fine  animal,  but  quite  untameable.  /  was  the  only 
person  that  could  at  all  keep  her  in  any  order,  and 
when  she  saw  me  really  angry  (which  they  tell  me 
is  a  savage  sight),  she  subsided.  But  she  had  a 
thousand  fooleries.  In  her  fazziolo,  the  dress  of 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  117 

the  lower  orders,  she  looked  beautiful ;  but,  alas  ! 
she  longed  for  a  hat  and  feathers  ;  and  all  I  could 
say  or  do  (and  I  said  much)  could  not  prevent  this 
travestie.  I  put  the  first  into  the  fire  ;  but  I  got 
tired  of  burning  them,  before  she  did  of  buying 
them,  so  that  she  made  herself  a  figure — for  they 
did  not  at  all  become  her. 

"  Then  she  would  have  her  gowns  with  a  tail  — 
like  a  lady,  forsooth  ;  nothing  would  serve  her  but 
'  1'abita  colla  coua,'  or  cua,  (that  is  the  Venetian  for 
'  la  cola,'  the  tail  or  train,)  and  as  her  cursed  pro- 
nunciation of  the  word  made  me  laugh,  there  was 
an  end  of  all  controversy,  and  she  dragged  this 
diabolical  tail  after  her  every  where. 

"  In  the  mean  time,  she  beat  the  women  and 
stopped  my  letters.  I  found  her  one  day  pondering 
over  one.  She  used  to  try  to  find  out  by  their  shape 
whether  they  were  feminine  or  no ;  and  she  used  to 
lament  her  ignorance,  and  actually  studied  her 
alphabet,  on  purpose  (as  she  declared)  to  open  all 
letters  addressed  to  me  and  read  their  contents. 

"  I  must  not  omit  to  do  justice  to  her  housekeep- 
ing qualities.  After  she  came  into  my  house  as 
*  donna  di  governo,'  the  expenses  were  reduced  to 
less  than  half,  and  every  body  did  their  duty  better 
—  the  apartments  were  kept  in  order,  and  every 
thing  and  every  body  else,  except  herself. 

"  That  she  had  a  sufficient  regard  for  me  in  her 
wild  way,  I  had  many  reasons  to  believe.  I  will 
mention  one.  In  the  autumn,  one  day,  going  to  the 
Lido  with  my  gondoliers,  we  were  overtaken  by  a 
heavy  squall,  and  the  gondola  put  in  peril  —  hats 

118  KOTfCES   OF   THE  1818. 

blown  away,  boat  6Ding,  oar  lost,  tumbling  tea, 
thunder,  rain  in  torrents,  night  coming,  and  wind 
unceasing.  On  our  return,  after  a  tight  struggle,  I 
found  her  on  the  open  step*  of  the  Mocenigo  palace, 
on  the  Grand  Canal,  with  her  great  black  eyes 
flashing  through  her  tears,  and  the  long  dark  hair, 
which  was  streaming,  drenched  with  rain,  over  her 
brows  and  breast.  She  was  perfectly  exposed  to 
the  storm  ;  and  the  wind  blowing  her  hair  and  dress 
about  her  thin  tall  figure,  and  the  lightning  flashing 
round  her,  and  the  waves  rolling  at  her  feet,  made 
her  look  like  Medea  alighted  from  her  chariot,  or  the 
Sibyl  of  the  tempest  that  was  rolling  around  her, 
the  only  living  thing  within  hail  at  that  moment  ex- 
cept ourselves.  On  teeing  me  safe,  she  did  not 
wait  to  greet  me,  as  might  have  been  expected,  but 
calling  out  to  me  —  *  Ah  J  can'  della  Madonna,  xe 
esto  il  tempo  per  aridar*  aT  Lido  ? '  (Ah !  dog  of  the 
Virgin,  is  this  a  time  to  go  to  Lido  ?)  ran  into  the 
house,  and  solaced  herself  with  scolding  the  boatmen 
for  not  foreseeing  the  *  temporale/  I  am  told  by  the 
servants  that  she  had  only  been  prevented  from 
coming  in  a  boat  to  look  after  me,  by  the  refusal  of  all 
the  gondolier*  of  the  canal  to  put  out  into  the  liar* 
bour  in  such  a  moment ;  and  that  then  she  sat  down 
on  the  steps  in  all  the  thickest  of  the  squall,  and 
would  neither  be  removed  nor  comforted.  Her  joy 
at  seeing  me  again  was  moderately  mixed  with  fero- 
city, and  gave  me  the  idea  of  a  tigress  over  her 
recovered  cubs. 

"  But  her  reign  drew  near  a  close.    She  became 
quite  ungovernable  some  months  after,  and  a  con* 

1818.  LIFE   OF   LORD    BYRON*.  119 

currence  of  complaints,  some  true,  and  many  false 
«— « a  favourite  has  no  friends '  —  determined  me  to 
part  with  her.  I  told  her  quietly  that  she  must  re- 
turn home,  (she  had  acquired  a  sufficient  provision 
for  herself  and  mother,  &c.  in  my  service,)  and  she 
refused  to  quit  the  house.  I  was  firm,  and  she 
went  threatening  knives  and  revenge.  I  told  her 
that  I  had  seen  knives  drawn  before  her  time,  and 
that  if  she  chose  to  begin,  there  was  a  knife,  and  fork 
also,  at  her  service  on  the  table,  and  that  intimida- 
tion would  not  do.  The  next  day,  while  I  was  at 
dinner,  she  walked  in,  (having  broken  open  a  glass 
door  that  led  from  the  hall  below  to  the  staircase,  by 
way  of  prologue,)  and  advancing  straight  up  to  the 
table,  snatched  the  knife  from  my  hand,  cutting  me 
slightly  in  the  thumb  in  the  operation.  Whether 
she  meant  to  use  this  against  herself  or  me,  I  know 
not — probably  against  neither  —  but  Fletcher  seized 
her  by  the  arms,  and  disarmed  her.  I  then  called 
my  boatmen,  and  desired  them  to  get  the  gondola 
ready,  and  conduct  her  to  her  own  house  again,  see* 
ing  carefully  that  she  did  herself  no  mischief  by 
seemed  quite  quiet,  and  walked  down 
stairs.  I  resumed  my  dinner. 

«  We  heard  a  great  noise,  and  went  out,  and  met 
them  on  the  staircase,  carrying  her  up  stairs.  She 
had  thrown  herself  into  the  canal.  That  she  intended 
to  destroy  herself,  I  do  not  believe ;  but  when  we 
consider  the  tear  women  and  men  who  can't  swim 
have  of  deep  or  even  of  shallow  water,  (and  the  Ve- 
netians in  particular,  though  they  live  on  the  waves,) 
ami  that  it  w..,  xl  dark,  and  very  cokt 

i  i 

120  NOTICES    OF    THE  J818. 

it  shows  that  she  had  a  devilish  spirit  of  some  sort 
within  her.  They  had  got  her  out  without  much 
difficulty  or  damage,  excepting  the  salt  water  she 
had  swallowed,  and  the  wetting  she  had  undergone. 

"  I  foresaw  her  intention  to  refix  herself,  and  sent 
for  a  surgeon,  enquiring  how  many  hours  it  would 
require  to  restore  her  from  her  agitation ;  and  he 
named  the  time.  I  then  said,  « I  give  you  that 
time,  and  more  if  you  require  it ;  but  at  the  expir- 
ation of  this  prescribed  period,  if  she  does  not  leave 
the  house,  /will.' 

"  All  my  people  were  consternated.  They  had 
always  been  frightened  at  her,  and  were  now  para- 
lysed :  they  wanted  me  to  apply  to  the  police,  to 
guard  myself,  &c.  &c.  like  a  pack  of  snivelling 
servile  boobies  as  they  were.  I  did  nothing  of  the 
kind,  thinking  that  I  might  as  well  end  that  way  as 
another  ;  besides,  I  had  been  used  to  savage  women, 
and  knew  their  ways. 

"  I  had  her  sent  home  quietly  after  her  recovery, 
and  never  saw  her  since,  except  twice  at  the  opera, 
at  a  distance  amongst  the  audience.  She  made 
many  attempts  to  return,  but  no  more  violent  ones. 
And  this  is  the  story  of  Margarita  Cogni,  as  far  as 
it  relates  to  me. 

"  I  forgot  to  mention  that  she  was  very  devout, 
and  would  cross  herself  if  she  heard  the  prayer 
time  strike. 

"  She  was  quick  in  reply ;  as,  for  instance  —  One 
day  when  she  had  made  me  very  angry  with  beating 
somebody  or  other,  I  called  her  a  cow  (cow.,  in  Italian, 
is  a  sad  affront).  I  called  her  «  Vacca.'  She  turned 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYROX.  121 

round,  courtesied,  and  answered,  '  Vacca  tua,  'ce- 
lenza'  (i.  e.  eccelenza).  « Your  cow,  please  your  Ex- 
cellency.' In  short,  she  was,  as  I  said  before,  a  very 
fine  animal,  of  considerable  beauty  and  energy,  with 
many  good  and  several  amusing  qualities,  but  wild 
as  a  witch  and  fierce  as  a  demon.  She  used  to  boast 
publicly  of  her  ascendency  over  me,  contrasting  it 
with  that  of  other  women,  and  assigning  for  it  sundry 
reasons.  True  it  was,  that  they  all  tried  to  get  her 
away,  and  no  one  succeeded  till  her  own  absurdity 
helped  them. 

"  I  omitted  to  tell  you  her  answer,  when  I  re- 
proached her  for  snatching  Madame  Contarini's 
mask  at  the  Cavalchina.  I  represented  to  her  that 
she  was  a  lady  of  high  birth,  '  una  Dama,'  &c.  She 
answered,  *  Se  ella  e  dama  mi  (io)  son  Veneziana;' 
—  <  If  she  is  a  lady,  I  am  a  Venetian.'  This  would 
have  been  fine  a  hundred  years  ago,  the  pride  of 
the  nation  rising  up  against  the  pride  of  aristocracy : 
but,  alas !  Venice,  and  her  people,  and  her  nobles, 
are  alike  returning  fast  to  the  ocean;  and  where 
there  is  no  independence,  there  can  be  no  real  self- 
respect.  I  believe  that  I  mistook  or  mis-stated  one 
of  her  phrases  in  my  letter  ;  it  should  have  been  — 
6  Can'  della  Madonna  cosa  vus*  tu?  esto  non  e 
tempo  per  andar'  a  Lido  ? '  ' 

It  was  at  this  time,  as  we  shall  see  by  the  letters 
I  am  about  to  produce,  and  as  the  features,  indeed, 
of  the  progeny  itself  would  but  too  plainly  indicate, 
that  he  conceived,  and  wrote  some  part  of,  his 
poem  of  '  Don  Juan  ;' — and  never  did  pages  more 

122  NOTICES    OF    THE  J818. 

faithfully  and,  in  many  respects,  lamentably,  reflect 
every  variety  of  feeling,  and  whim,  and  passion  that, 
like  the  wrack  of  autumn,  swept  across  the  author's 
mind  in  writing  them.  Nothing  less,  indeed,  than 
that  singular  combination  of  attributes,  which  existed 
and  were  in  full  activity  in  his  mind  at  this  moment, 
could  have  suggested,  or  been  capable  of,  the  exe- 
cution of  such  a  work.  The  cool  shrewdness  of 
age,  with  the  vivacity  and  glowing  temperament  of 
youth, — the  wit  of  a  Voltaire,  with  the  sensibility 
of  a  Rousseau,  —  the  minute,  practical  knowledge 
of  the  man  of  society,  with  the  abstract  and  self- 
contemplative  spirit  of  the  poet, — a  susceptibility 
of  all  that  is  grandest  and  most  affecting  in  human 
virtue,  with  a  deep,  withering  experience  of  all  that 
is  most  fatal  to  it,  —  the  two  extremes,  in  short,  of 
man's  mixed  and  inconsistent  nature,  now  rankly 
smelling  of  earth,  now  breathing  of  heaven,  —  such 
was  the  strange  assemblage  of  contrary  elements, 
all  meeting  together  in  the  same  mind,  and  all 
brought  to  bear,  in  turn,  upon  the  same  task,  from 
which  alone  could  have  sprung  this  extraordinary 
poem, — the  most  powerful  and,  in  many  respects, 
painful  display  of  the  versatility  of  genius  that  has 
ever  been  left  for  succeeding  ages  to  wonder  at  and 

I  shall  now  proceed  with  his  correspondence, 
—  having  thought  some  of  the  preceding  observ- 
ations necessary,  not  only  to  explain  to  the  reader 
much  of  what  he  will  find  in  these  letters,  but  to 
account  to  him  for  much  that  has  been  necessarily 

J818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  123 

LETTER  318.        TO    MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  June  18.  1818. 

"  Business  and  the  utter  and  inexplicable  silence 
of  all  my  correspondents  renders  me  impatient  and 
troublesome.  I  wrote  to  Mr.  Hanson  for  a  balance 
which  is  (or  ought  to  be)  in  his  hands  ;  —  no  answer. 
I  expected  the  messenger  with  the  Newstead  papers 
two  months  ago,  and  instead  of  him,  I  received  a 
requisition  to  proceed  to  Geneva,  which  (from  *  *, 
who  knows  my  wishes  and  opinions  about  approach- 
ing England)  could  only  be  irony  or  insult. 

"  I  must,  therefore,  trouble  you  to  pay  into  my 
bankers'  immediately  whatever  sum  or  sums  you  can 
make  it  convenient  to  do  on  our  agreement ;  other- 
wise, I  shall  be  put  to  the  severest  and  most  imme- 
diate inconvenience ;  and  this  at  a  time  when,  by 
every  rational  prospect  and  calculation,  I  ought  to  be 
in  the  receipt  of  considerable  sums.  Pray  do  not 
neglect  this;  you  have  no  idea  to  what  inconvenience 
you  will  otherwise  put  me.  *  *  had  some  absurd 
notion  about  the  disposal  of  this  money  in  annuity  (or 
God  knows  what),  which  I  merely  listened  to  when 
he  was  here  to  avoid  squabbles  and  sermons ;  but  I 
have  occasion  for  the  principal,  and  had  never  any 
serious  idea  of  appropriating  it  otherwise  than  to 
answer  my  personal  expenses.  Hobhouse's  wish  is, 
if  .possible,  to  .force  me  back  to  England  *  :  he  will 
not  succeed ;  and  if  he  did,  I  would  not  stay.  I 
_hate  the  country,  and  like  this ;  and  all  foolish  op- 

*  Deeply  is  it,  for  many  reasons,  to  be  regretted  that  this 
friendly  purpose  did  not  succeed. 

124?  NOTICES    OF    THE 


position,  of  course,  merely  adds  to  the  feeling.  Your 
silence  makes  me  doubt  the  success  of  Canto 
fourth.  If  it  has  failed,  I  will  make  such  deduction 
as  you  think  proper  and  fair  from  the  original  agree- 
ment ;  but  I  could  wish  whatever  is  to  be  paid  were 
remitted  to  me,  without  delay,  through  the  usual 
channel,  by  course  of  post. 

"  When  I  tell  you  that  I  have  not  heard  a  word 
from  England  since  very  early  in  May,  I  have  made 
the  eulogium  of  my  friends,  or  the  persons  who  call 
themselves  so,  since  I  have  written  so  often  and  in 
the  greatest  anxiety.  Thank  God,  the  longer  I 
am  absent,  the  less  cause  I  see  for  regretting  the 
country  or  its  living  contents.  I  am  yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  319.       TO    MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  July  10.  1818. 

"  I  have  received  your  letter  and  the  credit  from 
Morlands,  &c.  for  whom  I  have  also  drawn  upon 
you  at  sixty  days'  sight  for  the  remainder,  according 
to  your  proposition. 

"  I  am  still  waiting  in  Venice,  in  expectancy  of 
the  arrival  of  Hanson's  clerk.  What  can  detain 
him,  I  do  not  know ;  but  I  trust  that  Mr.  Hobhouse, 
and  Mr.  Kinnaird,  when  their  political  fit  is  abated, 
will  take  the  trouble  to  enquire  and  expedite  him, 
as  I  have  nearly  a  hundred  thousand  pounds  de- 
pending upon  the  completion  of  the  sale  and  the 
signature  of  the  papers. 

"  The  draft  on  you  is  drawn  up  by  Siri  and  Will- 

J818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  125 

halm.  I  hope  that  the  form  is  correct.  I  signed  it 
two  or  three  days  ago,  desiring  them  to  forward  it 
to  Messrs.  Morland  and  Ransom. 

"  Your  projected  editions  for  November  had  better 
be  postponed,  as  I  have  some  things  in  project,  or 
preparation,  that  may  be  of  use  to  you,  though  not 
very  important  in  themselves.  I  have  completed  an 
Ode  on  Venice,  and  have  two  Stories,  one  serious 
and  one  ludicrous  (a  la  Beppo),  not  yet  finished, 
and  in  no  hurry  to  be  so. 

"  You  talk  of  the  letter  to  Hobhouse  being  much 
admired,  and  speak  of  prose.  I  think  of  writing 
(for  your  full  edition)  some  Memoirs  of  my  life,  to 
prefix  to  them,  upon  the  same  model  (though  far 
enough,  I  fear,  from  reaching  it)  of  Gifford,  Hume, 
&c. ;  and  this  without  any  intention  of  making  dis- 
closures or  remarks  upon  living  people,  which  would 
be  unpleasant  to  them  :  but  I  think  it  might  be  done, 
and  well  done.  However,  this  is  to  be  considered. 
I  have  materials  in  plenty,  but  the  greater  part  of 
them  could  not  be  used  by  me,  nor  for  these  hun- 
dred years  to  come.  However,  there  is  enough 
without  these,  and  merely  as  a  literary  man,  to  make 
a  preface  for  such  an  edition  as  you  meditate.  But 
this  is  by  the  way :  I  have  not  made  up  my  mind. 

"  I  enclose  you  a  note  on  the  subject  of  *  Pa- 
risina,  which  Hobhouse  can  dress  for  you.  It  is  an 
extract  of  particulars  from  a  history  of  Ferrara. 

"  I  trust  you  have  been  attentive  to  Missiaglia,  for 
the  English  have  the  character  of  neglecting  the 
Italians,  at  present,  which  I  hope  you  will  redeem. 
"  Yours  in  haste,  B." 

126  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

LETTER  320.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  July  17.  1818. 

"  I  suppose  that  Aglietti  will  take  whatever  you 
offer,  but  till  his  return  from  Vienna  I  can  make  him 
no  proposal ;  nor,  indeed,  have  you  authorised  me  to 
do  so.  The  three  French  notes  are  by  Lady  Mary; 
also  another  half-English-French-Italian.  They  are 
very  pretty  and  passionate  ;  it  is  a  pity  that  a  piece 
of  one  of  them  is  lost.  Algarotti  seems  to  have 
treated  her  ill ;  but  she  was  much  his  senior,  and  all 
women  are  used  ill  —  or  say  so,  whether  they  are 
or  not. 

"  I  shall  be  glad  of  your  books  and  powders.  I 
am  still  in  waiting  for  Hanson's  clerk,  but  luckily 
not  at  Geneva.  All  my  good  friends  wrote  to  me 
to  hasten  there  to  meet  him,  but  not  one  had  the 
good  sense  or  the  good  nature,  to  write  afterwards 
to  tell  me  that  it  would  be  time  and  ajourney  thrown 
away,  as  he  could  not  set  off  for  some  months  after 
the  period  appointed.  If  I  had  taken  the  journey 
on  the  general  suggestion,  I  never  would  have  spoken, 
again  to  one  of  you  as  long  as  I  existed.  I  have 
written  to  request  Mr.  Kinnaird,  when  the  foam  of 
his  politics  is  wiped  away,  to  extract  a  positive 
answer  from  that  *  *  *  *,  and  not  to  keep  me  in  a 
state  of  suspense  upon  the  subject.  I  hope  that 
Kinnaird,  who  has  my  power  of  attorney,  keeps  a 
look-out  upon  the  gentleman,  which  is  the  more 
necessary,  as  I  have  a  great  dislike  to  the  idea  of 
coming  over  to  look  after  him  myself. 

"  I  have  several  things  begun,  verse  and  prose, 

1818.  LIFE   OP    LORD   BYRON.  127 

but  none  in  much  forwardness.  I  have  written  some 
six  or  seven  sheets  of  a  Life,  which  I  mean  to  con- 
tinue, and  send  you  when  finished.  It  may  perhaps 
serve  for  your  projected  editions.  If  you  would  tell 
me  exactly  (for  I  know  nothing,  and  have  no  corre- 
spondents except  on  business)  the  state  of  the  re- 
ception of  our  late  publications,  and  the  feeling 
upon  them,  without  consulting  any  delicacies  (I  am 
too  seasoned  to  require  them),  I  should  know  how 
and  in  what  manner  to  proceed.  I  should  not  like 
to  give  them  too  much,  which  may  probably  have 
been  the  case  already;  but,  as  I  tell  you,  I  know 

"  I  once  wrote  from  the  fulness  of  my  mind  and 
the  love  of  fame,  (not  as  an  end,  but  as  a  means,  to 
obtain  that  influence  over  men's  minds  which  is 
power  in  itself  and  in  its  consequences,)  and  now 
from  habit  and  from  avarice ;  so  that  the  effect  may 
probably  be  as  different  as  the  inspiration.  I  have 
the  same  facility,  and  indeed  necessity,  of  com- 
position, to  avoid  idleness  (though  idleness  in  a  hot 
country  is  a  pleasure),  but  a  much  greater  indif- 
ference to  what  is  to  become  of  it,  after  it  has 
served  my  immediate  purpose.  However,  I  should 

on  no  account  like  to but  I  won't  go  on,  like 

the  Archbishop  of  Granada,  as  I  am  very  sure  that 
you  dread  the  fate  of  Gil  Bias,  and  with  good 
reason.  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  written  some  very  savage  letters  to 
Mr.  Hobhouse,  Kinnaird,  to  you,  and  to  Hanson, 
because  the  silence  of  so  long  a  time  made  me  tear 
off  my  remaining  rags  of  patience.  I  have  seen  one 

128  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

or  two  late  English  publications  which  are  no  great 
things,  except  Rob  Roy.  I  shall  be  glad  of  Whistle- 

LETTER  321.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  August  26.  1818. 

"  You  may  go  on  with  your  edition,  without  cal- 
culating on  the  Memoir,  which  I  shall  not  publish  at 
present.  It  is  nearly  finished,  but  will  be  too  long ; 
and  there  are  so  many  things,  which,  out  of  regard 
to  the  living,  cannot  be  mentioned,  that  I  have  writ- 
ten with  too  much  detail  of  that  which  interested 
me  least ;  so  that  my  autobiographical  Essay  would 
resemble  the  tragedy  of  Hamlet  at  the  country 
theatre,  recited  *  with  the  part  of  Hamlet  left  out 
by  particular  desire.'  I  shall  keep  it  among  my 
papers ;  it  will  be  a  kind  of  guide-post  in  case  of 
death,  and  prevent  some  of  the  lies  which  would 
otherwise  be  told,  and  destroy  some  which  have 
been  told  already. 

"  The  tales  also  are  in  an  unfinished  state,  and  I 
can  fix  no  time  for  their  completion :  they  are  also 
not  in  the  best  manner.  You  must  not,  therefore, 
calculate  upon  any  thing  in  time  for  this  edition. 
The  Memoir  is  already  above  forty-four  sheets  of 
very  large,  long  paper,  and  will  be  about  fifty  or 
sixty;  but  I  wish  to  go  on  leisurely;  and  when 
finished,  although  it  might  do  a  good  deal  for  you 
at  the  time,  I  am  not  sure  that  it  would  serve  any 
good  purpose  in  the  end  either,  as  it  is  full  of  many 
passions  and  prejudices,  of  which  it  has  been  impos- 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  129 

sible  for  me  to  keep  clear:  —  I  have  not  the  pa- 

"  Enclosed  is  a  list  of  books  which  Dr.  Aglietti 
would  be  glad  to  receive  by  way  of  price  for  his  MS. 
letters;  if  you  are  disposed  to  purchase  at  the  rate 
of  fifty  pounds  sterling.  These  he  will  be  glad  to 
have  as  part,  and  the  rest  /will  give  him  in  money, 
and  you  may  carry  it  to  the  account  of  books,  &c» 
which  is  in  balance  against  me,  deducting  it  accord- 
ingly. So  that  the  letters  are  yours,  if  you  like 
them,  at  this  rate ;  and  he  and  I  are  going  to  hunt 
for  more  Lady  Montague  letters,  which  he  thinks 
of  finding.  I  write  m  haste.  Thanks  for  the  article* 

and  believe  me 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

To  the  charge  brought  against  Lord  Byron  by 
some  English  travellers  of  being,  in  general,  repul- 
sive and  inhospitable  to  his  own  countrymen,  I  have 
already  made  allusion;  and  shall  now  add  to  the 
testimony  then  cited  in  disproof  of  such  a  charge 
some  particulars,  communicated  to  me  by  Captairi 
Basil  Hall,  which  exhibit  the  courtesy  and  kindliness 
of  the  noble  poet's  disposition  in  their  true,  natural 

«  On  the  last  day  of  August,  1818  (says  this  dis- 
tinguished writer  and  traveller),  I  was  taken  ill  with 
an  ague  at  Venice,  and  having  heard  enough  of  the 
low  state  of  the  medical  art  in  that  country,  I  was 
not  a  little  anxious  as  to  the  advice  I  should  take; 
I  was  not  acquainted  with  any  person  in  Venice  to 
whom  I  could  refer,  and  had  only  one  letter  of  in- 

VOL.  IV.  K 

130  .       NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

troduction,  which  was  to  Lord  Byron ;  but  as  there 
were  many  stories  floating  about  of  his  Lordship's 
unwillingness  to  be  pestered  with  tourists,  I  had  felt 
unwilling,  before  this  moment,  to  intrude  myself  in 
that  shape.  Now,  however,  that  I  was  seriously 
unwell,  I  felt  sure  that  this  offensive  character  would 
merge  in  that  of  a  countryman  in  distress,  and  I 
sent  the  letter  by  one  of  my  travelling  companions 
to  Lord  Byrcn's  lodgings,  with  a  note,  excusing  the 
liberty  I  was  taking,  explaining  that  I  was  in  want 
of  medical  assistance,  and  saying  I  should  not  send 
to  any  one  till  I  heard  the  name  of  the  person  who, 
in  his  Lordship's  opinion,  was  the  best  practitioner  in 

"  Unfortunately  for  me,  Lord  Byron  was  still  in 
bed,  though  it  was  near  noon,  and  still  more  unfor- 
tunately, the  bearer  of  my  message  scrupled  to 
awake  him,  without  first  coming  back  to  consult  me. 
By  this  time  I  was  in  all  the  agonies  of  a  cold  ague 
fit,  and,  therefore,  not  at  all  in  a  condition  to  be 
consulted  upon  any  thing  —  so  I  replied  pettishly, 
*  Oh,  by  no  means  disturb  Lord  Byron  on  my  ac- 
count—  ring  for  the  landlord,  and  send  for  any  one 
he  recommends.'  This  absurd  injunction  being  forth- 
with and  literally  attended  to,  in  the  course  of  an 
hour  I  was  under  the  discipline  of  mine  host's  friend, 
whose  skill  and  success  it  is  no  part  of  my  present 
purpose  to  descant  upon  :  —  it  is  sufficient  to  men- 
tion that  I  was  irrevocably  in  his  hands  long  before 
the  following  most  kind  note  was  brought  to  me,  in 
great  haste,  by  Lord  Byron's  servant. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  133 

"  «  Venice,  August  31.  1818. 
«  < Dear  Sir, 

"  *  Dr.  Aglietti  is  the  best  physician,  not  only 
in  Venice,  but  in  Italy :  his  residence  is  on  the  Grand 
Canal,  and  easily  found ;  I  forget  the  number,  but 
am  probably  the  only  person  in  Venice  who  don't 
know  it.  There  is  no  comparison  between  him  and 
any  of  the  other  medical  people  here.  I  regret  very 
much  to  hear  of  your  indisposition,  and  shall  do 
myself  the  honour  of  waiting  upon  you  the  moment 
I  am  up.  I  write  this  in  bed,  and  have  only  just 
received  the  letter  and  note.  I  beg  you  to  believe 
that  nothing  but  the  extreme  lateness  of  my  hours 
could  have  prevented  me  from  replying  immediately, 
or  coming  in  person.  I  have  not  been  called  a  mi- 
nute. —  I  have  the  honour  to  be,  very  truly, 

"  <  Your  most  obedient  servant,       , 
«  «  BYRON/ 

"  His  Lordship  soon  followed  this  note,  and  I 
heard  his  voice  in  the  next  room  ;  but  although  he 
waited  more  than  an  hour,  I  could  not  see  him, 
being  under  the  inexorable  hands  of  the  doctor.  In 
the  course  of  the  same  evening  he  again  called,  but 
I  was  asleep.  When  I  awoke  I  found  his  Lordship's 
valet  sitting  by  my  bedside.  *  He  had  his  master's 
orders,'  he  said,  '  to  remain  with  me  while  I  was 
unwell,  and  was  instructed  to  say,  that  whatever  his 
Lordship  had,  or  could  procure,  was  at  my  service, 
and  that  he  would  come  to  me  and  sit  with  me,  or 
do  whatever  I  liked,  if  I  would  only  let  him  know  in 
\vhat  way  he  could  be  useful.' 
K  2 

132  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

"  Accordingly,  on  the  next  day,  1  sent  for  some 
book,  which  was  brought,  with  a  list  of  his  library. 
I  forget  what  it  was  which  prevented  my  seeing 
Lord  Byron  on  this  day,  though  he  called  more  than 
once ;  and  on  the  next,  I  was  too  ill  with  fever  to 
talk  to  any  one. 

"  The  moment  I  could  get  out,  I  took  a  gondola 
and  went  to  pay  my  respects,  and  to  thank  his  Lord- 
ship for  his  attentions.  It  was  then  nearly  three 
o'clock,  but  he  was  not  yet  up ;  and  when  I  went 
again  on  the  following  day  at  five,  I  had  the  morti- 
fication to  learn  that  he  had  gone,  at  the  same  hour, 
to  call  upon  me,  so  that  we  had  crossed  each  other 
on  the  canal ;  and,  to  my  deep  and  lasting  regret,  I 
was  obliged  to  leave  Venice  without  seeing  him." 

LETTER  322.          TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Venice,  September  19.  1818. 

"  An  English  newspaper  here  would  be  a  prodigy, 
and  an  opposition  one  a  monster ;  and  except  some 
ex  tracts  from,  extracts  in  the  vile,  garbled  Paris  ga- 
zettes, nothing  cf  the  kind  reaches  the  Veneto-Lom- 
bard  public,  who  are,  perhaps,  the  most  oppressed  in 
Europe.  My  correspondences  with  England  are 
mostly  on  business,  and  chiefly  with  my  *  *  *,  who 
has  no  very  exalted  notion,  or  extensive  conception, 
of  an  author's  attributes ;  for  he  once  took  up  an 
Edinburgh  Review,  and,  looking  at  it  a  minute,  said 
to  me,  '  So,  I  see  you  have  got  into  the  magazine/ 
—  which  is  the  only  sentence  I  ever  heard  him  utter 
upon  literary  matters,  or  the  men  thereof. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  133 

"  My  first  news  of  your  Irish  Apotheosis  has,  con- 
sequently, been  from  yourself.  But,  as  it  will  not  be 
forgotten  in  a  hurry,  either  by  your  friends  or  your 
enemies,  I  hope  to  have  it  more  in  detail  from  some 
of  the  former,  and,  in  the  mean  time,  I  wish  you  joy 
with  all  my  heart.  Such  a  moment  must  have  been 
a  good  deal  better  than  Westminster-abbey,  —  be- 
sides being  an  assurance  of  that  one  day  (many  years 
hence,  I  trust,)  into  the  bargain. 

"  I  am  sorry  to  perceive,  however,  by  the  close  of 
your  letter,  that  even  you  have  not  escaped  the 
*  surgit  amari,'  &c.  and  that  your  damned  deputy 
has  been  gathering  such  «  dew  from  the  still  vext 
Bermoothes' —  or  rather  vexatious.  Pray,  give  me 
some  items  of  the  affair,  as  you  say  it  is  a  serious 
one ;  and,  if  it  grows  more  so,  you  should  make  a 
trip  over  here  for  a  few  months,  to  see  how  things 
turn  out.  I  suppose  you  are  a  violent  admirer  of 
England  by  your  staying  so  long  in  it.  For  my  own 
part,  I  have  passed,  between  the  age  of  one-and- 
twenty  and  thirty,  half  the  intervenient  years  out  of 
it  without  regretting  any  thing,  except  that  I  ever 
returned  to  it  at  all,  and  the  gloomy  prospect  before 
me  of  business  and  parentage  obliging  me,  one  day, 
to  return  to  it  again,  —  at  least,  for  the  transaction 
of  affairs,  the  signing  of  papers,  and  inspecting  of 

"  I  have  here  my  natural  daughter,  by  name  Al^ 
legra,  —  a  pretty  little  girl  enough,  and  reckoned 
Tike  "papa.*     Her  mamma  is  English, — but  it  is  a 

*  This  little  child  had  been  sent  to  him  by  its  mother  about 
four  or  five  months  before,  under  the  care  of  a  Swiss  nurse,  a 
K    3 

134  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

long  story,  and  —  there's  an  end.      She  is  about 
twenty  months  old. 

"  I  have  finished  the  first  Canto  (a  long  one,  of 
about  180  octaves)  of  a  poem  in  the  style  and  man- 
ner of  «  Beppo,'  encouraged  by  the  good  success  of 
the  same.  It  is  called  '  Don  Juan,'  and  is  meant  to 
be  a  little  quietly  facetious  upon  every  thing.  But 
I  doubt  whether  it  is  not  —  at  least,  as  far  as  it  has 
yet  gone  —  too  free  for  these  very  modest  days. 
However,  I  shall  try  the  experiment,  anonymously, 
and  if  it  don't  take,  it  will  be  discontinued.  It  is 
dedicated  to  S  *  *  in  good,  simple,  savage  verse, 
upon  the  *  *  *  *'s  politics,  and  the  way  he  got  them. 
But  the  bore  of  copying  it  out  is  intolerable ;  and  if 

young  girl  not  above  nineteen  or  twenty  years  of  age,  and  in 
every  respect  unfit  to  have  the  charge  of  such  an  infant,  without 
the  superintendence  of  some  more  experienced  person.  "  The 
child,  accordingly,"  says  my  informant,  "  was  but  ill  taken 
care  of ;  —  not  that  any  blame  could  attach  to  Lord  Byron, 
for  he  always  expressed  himself  most  anxious  for  her  welfare, 
but  because  the  nurse  wanted  the  necessary  experience.  The 
poor  girl  was  equally  to  be  pitied ;  for,  as  Lord  Byron's  house- 
hold consisted  of  English  and  Italian  men  servants,  with 
whom  she  could  hold  no  converse,  and  as  there  was  no  other 
female  to  consult  with  and  assist  her  in  her  charge,  nothing 
could  be  more  forlorn  than  her  situation  proved  to  be." 

Soon  after  the  date  of  the  above  letter,  Mrs.  Hoppner,  the 
lady  of  the  Consul  General,  who  had,  from  the  first,  in  com- 
passion both  to  father  and  child,  invited  the  little  Allegra  oc- 
casionally to  her  house,  very  kindly  proposed  to  Lord  Byron 
to  take  charge  of  her  altogether,  and  an  arrangement  was 
accordingly  concluded  upon  for  that  purpose. 

1818.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  J  35 

I  had  an  amanuensis  he  would  be  of  no  use,  as  my 
writing  is  so  difficult  to  decipher. 

"  My  poem's  Epic,  and  is  meant  to  be 

Divided  in  twelve  books,  each  book  containing 

With  love  and  war,  a  heavy  gale  at  sea  — 

A  list  of  ships,  and  captains,  and  kings  reigning  — 

New  characters,  £c.  &c. 

The  above  are  two  stanzas,  which  I  send  you  as  a 
brick  of  my  Babel,  and  by  which  you  can  judge  of 
the  texture  of  the  structure. 

"  In  writing  the  Life  of  Sheridan,  never  mind  the 
angry  lies  of  the  humbug  Whigs.  Recollect  that  he 
was  an  Irishman  and  a  clever  fellow,  and  that  we 
have  had  some  very  pleasant  days  with  him.  Don't 
forget  that  he  was  at  school  at  Harrow,  where,  in 
my  time,  we  used  to  show  his  name  —  R.  B.  Sheri- 
dan, 1765,  —  as  an  honour  to  the  walls.  Remem- 
ber *  *.  Depend  upon  it  that  there  were 
worse  folks  going,  of  that  gang,  than  ever  Sheridan 

"  What  did  Parr  mean  by  *  haughtiness  and  cold- 
ness ? '  I  listened  to  him  with  admiring  ignorance, 
and  respectful  silence.  What  more  could  a  talker 
for  fame  have  ? — they  don't  like  to  be  answered.  It 
was  at  Payne  Knight's  I  met  him,  where  he  gave 
me  more  Greek  than  I  could  carry  away.  But  I 
certainly  meant  to  (and  did)  treat  him  with  the  most 
respectful  deference. 

"  I  wish  you  a  good  night,  with  a  Venetian  bene- 
diction, '  Benedetto  te,  e  la  terra  che  ti  fara ! '  — 
*  May  you  be  blessed,  and  the  earth  which  you  will 
K  4 

136  NOTICES    OF    THE  1818. 

make  ! '  —  is  it  not  pretty  ?  You  would  think  it  still 
prettier  if  you  had  heard  it,  as  I  did  two  hours  ago, 
from  the  lips  of  a  Venetian  girl,  with  large  black 
eyes,  a  face  like  Faustina's,  and  the  figure  of  a  Juno 
—  tall  and  energetic  as  a  Pythoness,  with  eyes  flash- 
ing, and  her  dark  hair  streaming  in  the  moonlight  — 
one  of  those  women  who  may  be  made  any  thing. 
I  am  sure  if  I  put  a  poniard  into  the  hand  of  this 
one,  she  would  plunge  it  where  I  told  her,  —  and 
into  me,  if  I  offended  her.  I  like  this  kind  of  animal, 
and  am  sure  that  I  should  have  preferred  Medea  to 
any  woman  that  ever  breathed.  You  may,  perhaps, 
wonder  that  I  don't  in  that  case.  I  could  have  for- 
given the  dagger  or  the  bowl,  any  thing,  but  the 
deliberate  desolation  piled  upon  me,  when  I  stood 
alone  upon  my  hearth,  with  my  household  gods  shi- 
vered around  me.  f  *  *  Do  you  suppose  I 
have  forgotten  or  forgiven  it?  It  has  compara- 
tively swallowed  up  in  me  every  other  feeling,  and 
I  am  only  a  spectator  upon  earth,  till  a  tenfold  op- 
portunity offers.  It  may  come  yet.  There  are 
others  more  to  be  blamed  than  *  *  *  *,  and  it  is  on 
these  that  my  eyes  are  fixed  unceasingly." 

LETTER  323.       TO   MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  September  24.  1818. 

"  In  the  one  hundredth  and  thirty-second  stanza 
of  Canto  fourth,  the  stanza  runs  in  the  manuscript  — 

f  "  I  had  one  only  fount  of  quiet  left, 

And  that  they  poison'd !  My  pure  household  gods 
Were  shivered  on  my  hearth."  MARINO  FALIERO. 

1818.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  13? 

"  And  thou,  who  never  yet  of  human  wrong 
Left  the  unbalanced  scale,  great  Nemesis ! 

and  not  l  lost,'  which  is  nonsense,  as  what  losing  a 
scale  means,  I  know  not ;  but  leaving  an  unbalanced 
scale,  or  a  scale  unbalanced,  is  intelligible.*  Correct 
this,  I  pray,  —  not  for  the  public,  or  the  poetry,  but 
I  do  not  choose  to  have  blunders  made  in  addressing 
any  of  the  deities  so  seriously  as  this  is  addressed. 

"  Yours,  &c. 
"  P.  S.  In  the  translation  from  the  Spanish,  alter 

"  In  increasing  squadrons  flew, 

to  — 

"  To  a  mighty  squadron  grew. 

"  What  does  '  thy  waters  wasted  them '  mean  (in 
the  Canto)  ?  That  is  not  me.  f  Consult  the  MS. 

"  I  have  written  the  first  Canto  (180  octave  stan- 
zas) of  a  poem  in  the  style  of  Beppo,  and  have 
Mazeppa  to  finish  besides. 

"  In  referring  to  the  mistake  in  stanza  132. 1  take 
the  opportunity  to  desire  that  in  future,  in  all  parts 
of  my  writings  referring  to  religion,  you  will  be  more 
careful,  and  not  forget  that  it  is  possible  that  in  ad- 
dressing the  Deity  a  blunder  may  become  a  blas- 
phemy ;  and  I  do  not  choose  to  suffer  such  infamous 
perversions  of  my  words  or  of  my  intentions. 

"  I  saw  the  Canto  by  accident." 

*  This  correction,  I  observe,  has  never  been  made,  —  the 
passage  still  remaining,  unmeaningly, 

"  Lost  the  unbalanced  scale." 
•f*  This  passage  also  remains  uncorrected. 

138  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

LETTER  324.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  January  20.  1819. 

"  The  opinions  which  I  have  asked  of  Mr.  H.  and 
others  were  with  regard  to  the  poetical  merit,  and 
not  as  to  what  they  may  think  due  to  the  cant  01 
the  day,  which  still  reads  the  Bath  Guide,  Little's 
Poems,  Prior,  and  Chaucer,  to  say  nothing  of  Field- 
ing and  Smollet.  If  published,  publish  entire,  with 
the  above-mentioned  exceptions ;  or  you  may  publish 
anonymously,  or  not  at  all.  In  the  latter  event,  print 
50  on  my  account,  for  private  distribution. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  I  have  written  to  Messrs.  K.  and  H.  to  desire 
that  they  will  not  erase  more  than  I  have  stated. 

"  The  second  Canto  of  Don  Juan  is  finished  in 
206  stanzas." 


"  Venice,  January  25.  1819. 

"  You  will  do  me  the  favour  to  print  privately 
(for  private  distribution)  fifty  copies  of  <  Don  Juan.' 
The  list  of  the  men  to  whom  I  wish  it  to  be  pre- 
sented, I  will  send  hereafter.  The  other  two  poems 
had  best  be  added  to  the  collective  edition :  I  do  not 
approve  of  their  being  published  separately.  Print 
Don  Juan  entire,  omitting,  of  course,  the  lines  on 
Castlereagh,  as  I  am  not  on  the  spot  to  meet  him. 
I  have  a  second  Canto  ready,  which  will  be  sent 
by  and  by.  By  this  post,  I  have  written  to  Mr. 
Hobhouse,  addressed  to  your  care. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

1819.  MFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  139 

"  P.  S.  I  have  acquiesced  in  the  request  and 
representation  ;  and  having  done  so,  it  is  idle  to 
detail  my  arguments  in  favour  of  my  own  self-love 
and  'Poeshie;'  but  I  protest.  If  the  poem  has 
poetry,  it  would  stand ;  if  not,  fall ;  the  rest  is 
*  leather  and  prunello,'  and  has  never  yet  affected 
any  human  production  *  pro  or  eon.'  Dulness  is  the 
only  annihilator  in  such  cases.  As  to  the  cant  of 
the  day,  I  despise  it,  as  I  have  ever  done  all  its  other 
finical  fashions,  which  become  you  as  paint  became 
the  ancient  Britons.  If  you  admit  this  prudery,  you 
must  omit  half  Ariosto,  La  Fontaine,  Shakspeare, 
Beaumont,  Fletcher,  Massinger,  Ford,  all  the  Charles 
Second  writers ;  in  short,  something  of  most  who 
have  written  before  Pope  and  are  worth  reading,  and 
much  of  Pope  himself.  Read  him  —  most  of  you 
dont  —  but  do  —  and  I  will  forgive  you;  though 
the  inevitable  consequence  would  be  that  you  would 
burn  all  I  have  ever  written,  and  all  your  other 
wretched  Claudians  of  the  day  (except  Scott  and 
Crabbe)  into  the  bargain.  I  wrong  Claudian,  who 
was  a  poet,  by  naming  him  with  such  fellows ;  but 
he  was  the  *  ultimus  Romanorum,'  the  tail  of  the 
comet,  and  these  persons  are  the  tail  of  an  old  gown 
cut  into  a  waistcoat  for  Jackey  ;  but  being  both  tails, 
I  have  compared  the  one  with  the  other,  though 
very  unlike,  like  all  similes.  I  write  in  a  passion 
and  a  sirocco,  and  I  was  up  till  six  this  morning  at 
the  Carnival :  but  I  protest,  as  I  did  in  my  former 

14-0  NOTICES    OF    THE  18]  9. 

LETTER  326.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Venice,  February  1.  1819. 

"  After  one  of  the  concluding  stanzas  of  the  first 
Canto  of «  Don  Juan,'  which  ends  with  (I  forget  the 
number)  — 

«  To  have 

when  the  original  is  dust, 

A  book,  a  d — d  bad  picture,  and  worse  bust, 

insert  the  following  stanza :  — 

"  What  are  the  hopes  of  man,  &c. 

"  I  have  written  to  you  several  letters,  some  with 
additions,  and  some  upon  the  subject  of  the  poem 
itself,  which  my  cursed  puritanical  committee  have 
protested  against  publishing.  But  we  will  circumvent 
them  on  that  point.  I  have  not  yet  begun  to  copy 
out  the  second  Canto,  which  is  finished,  from  na- 
tural laziness,  and  the  discouragement  of  the  milk 
and  water  they  have  thrown  upon  the  first.  I  say 
all  this  to  them  as  to  you,  that  is,  for  you  to  say  to 
them,  for  I  will  have  nothing  underhand.  If  they 
had  told  me  the  poetry  was  bad,  I  would  have  ac- 
quiesced ;  but  they  say  the  contrary,  and  then  talk 
to  me  about  morality  —  the  first  time  I  ever  heard 
the  word  from  any  body  who  was  not  a  rascal  that 
used  it  for  a  purpose.  I  maintain  that  it  is  the  most 
moral  of  poems ;  but  if  people  won't  discover  the 
moral,  that  is  their  fault,  not  mine.  I  have  already 
written  to  beg  that  in  any  case  you  will  print  fifty 
for  private  distribution.  I  will  send  you  the  list  of 
persons  to  whom  it  is  to  be  sent  afterwards. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  141 

«  Within  this  last  fortnight  I  have  been  rather 
indisposed  with  a  rebellion  of  stomach,  which  would 
retain  nothing,  (liver,  I  suppose,)  and  an  inability, 
or  fantasy,  not  to  be  able  to  eat  of  any  thing  with 
relish  but  a  kind  of  Adriatic  fish  called  <  scampi,' 
which  happens  to  be  the  most  indigestible  of  ma- 
rine viands.  However,  within  these  last  two  days, 
I  am  better,  and  very  truly  yours." 


"Venice,  April 6.  1819. 

"  The  second  Canto  of  Don  Juan  was  sent,  on 
Saturday  last,  by  post,  in  four  packets,  two  of  four, 
and  two  of  three  sheets  each,  containing  in  all  two 
hundred  and  seventeen  stanzas,  octave  measure. 
But  I  will  permit  no  curtailments,  except  those 
mentioned  about  Castlereagh  and  *  *  *  *.  You 
sha'n't  make  canticles  of  my  cantos.  The  poem  will 
please,  if  it  is  lively ;  if  it  is  stupid,  it  will  fail :  but 
I  will  have  none  of  your  damned  cutting  and  slash- 
ing. If  you  please,  you  may  publish  anonymously; 
it  will  perhaps  be  better ;  but  I  will  battle  my  way 
against  them  all,  like  a  porcupine. 

"  So  you  and  Mr.  Foscolo,  &c.  want  me  to  under- 
take what  you  call  a  <  great  work  ? '  an  Epic  Poem, 
I  suppose,  or  some  such  pyramid.  I'll  try  no 
such  thing ;  I  hate  tasks.  And  then  *  seven  or  eight 
years  ! '  God  send  us  all  well  this  day  three  months, 
let  alone  years.  If  one's  years  can't  be  better  em- 
ployed than  in  sweating  poesy,  a  man  had  better 
be  a  ditcher.  And  works,  too  !  —  is  Childe  Harold 

142  -     NOTICES    OF    THE  1819., 

nothing  ?  You  have  so  many  *  divine  poems,  is  it 
nothing  to  have  written  a  human  one  ?  without  any 
of  your  worn-out  machinery.  Why,  man,  I  could 
have  spun  the  thoughts  of  the  four  Cantos  of  that 
poem  into  twenty,  had  I  wanted  to  book-make,  and 
its  passion  into  as  many  modern  tragedies.  Since 
you  want  length,  you  shall  have  enough  of  Juan,  for 
I'll  make  fifty  Cantos. 

"  And  Foscolo,  too  !  Why  does  he  not  do  some- 
thing more  than  the  Letters  of  Ortis,  and  a  tragedy, 
and  pamphlets  ?  He  has  good  fifteen  years  more  at 
his  command  than  I  have :  what  has  he  done  all  that 
time  ?  —  proved  his  genius,  doubtless,  but  not  fixed 
its  fame,  nor  done  his  utmost. 

"  Besides,  I  mean  to  write  my  best  work  in  Italian, 
and  it  will  take  me  nine  years  more  thoroughly  to 
master  the  language ;  and  then  if  my  fancy  exist, 
and  I  exist  too,  I  will  try  what  I  can  do  really.  As 
to  the  estimation  of  the  English  which  you  talk  of, 
let  them  calculate  what  it  is  worth,  before  they  insult 
me  with  their  insolent  condescension. 

"  I  have  not  written  for  their  pleasure.  If  they 
are  pleased,  it  is  that  they  chose  to  be  so  ;  I  have 
never  flattered  their  opinions,  nor  their  pride ;  nor 
will  I.  Neither  will  I  make  '  Ladies'  books'  *  al 
dilettar  le  femine  e  la  plebe.'  I  have  written  from 
the  fulness  of  my  mind,  from  passion,  from  im- 
pulse, from  many  motives,  but  not  for  their  *  sweet 

"  I  know  the  precise  worth  of  popular  applause, 
for  few  scribblers  have  had  more  of  it;  and  if  I 
chose  to  swerve  into  their  paths,  I  could  retain  it, 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  I4?3 

or  resume  it.  But  I  neither  love  ye,  nor  fear  ye ; 
and  though  I  buy  with  ye  and  sell  with  ye,  I  will 
neither  eat  with  ye,  drink  with  ye,  nor  pray  with 
ye.  They  made  me,  without  any  search,  a  species 
of  popular  idol ;  they,  without  reason  or  judgment, 
beyond  the  caprice  of  their  good  pleasure,  threw 
down  the  image  from  its  pedestal ;  it  was  not  broken 
with  the  fall,  and  they  would,  it  seems,  again  replace 
it,  —  but  they  shall  not. 

"  You  ask  about  my  health :  about  the  beginning 
of  the  year  I  was  in  a  state  of  great  exhaustion, 
attended  by  such  debility  of  stomach  that  nothing 
remained  upon  it ;  and  I  was  obliged  to  reform  my 
i  way  of  life,'  which  was  conducting  me  from  the 
*  yellow  leaf  to  the  ground,  with  all  deliberate 
speed.  I  am  better  in  health  and  morals,  and  very 
much  yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  read  Hodgson's  *  Friends/  He 
is  right  in  defending  Pope  against  the  bastard  peli- 
cans of  the  poetical  winter  day,  who  add  insult  to 
their  parricide,  by  sucking  the  blood  of  the  parent 
of  English  real  poetry, — poetry  without  fault,— 
and  then  spurning  the  bosom  which  fed  them." 

It  was  about  the  time  when  the  foregoing  letter 
was  written,  and  when,  as  we  perceive,  like  the  first 
return  of  reason  after  intoxication,  a  full  conscious- 
ness of  some  of  the  evils  of  his  late  libertine  course 
of  life  had  broken  upon  him,  that  an  attachment 
differing  altogether,  both  in  duration  and  devotion, 
from  any  of  those  that,  since  the  dream  of  his 
boyhood,  had  inspired  him,  gained  an  influence 

144  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

over  his  mind  which  lasted  through  his  few  re- 
maining years  ;  and,  undeniably  wrong  and  immoral 
(even  allowing  for  the  Italian  estimate  of  such 
frailties)  as  was  the  nature  of  the  connection  to 
which  this  attachment  led,  we  can  hardly  perhaps, 
. —  taking  into  account  the  far  worse  wrong  from 
which  it  rescued  and  preserved  him,  —  consider  it 
otherwise  than  as  an  event  fortunate  both  for  his 
reputation  and  happiness. 

The  fair  object  of  this  last,  and  (with  one  signal 
exception)  only  real  love  of  his  whole  life,  was  a 
young  Romagnese  lady,  the  daughter  of  Count 
Gamba,  of  Ravenna,  and  married,  but  a  short  time 
before  Lord  Byron  first  met  with  her,  to  an  old  and 
wealthy  widower,  of  the  same  city,  Count  Guiccioli. 
Her  husband  had  in  early  life  been  the  friend  of 
Alfieri,  and  had  distinguished  himself  by  his  zeal  in 
promoting  the  establishment  of  a  National  Theatre, 
in  which  the  talents  of  Alfieri  and  his  own  wealth 
were  to  be  combined.  Notwithstanding  his  age, 
and  a  character,  as  it  appears,  by  no  means  reput- 
able, his  great  opulence  rendered  him  an  object  of 
ambition  among  the  mothers  of  Ravenna,  who, 
according  to  the  too  frequent  maternal  practice, 
were  seen  vying  with  each  other  in  attracting  so 
rich  a  purchaser  for  their  daughters,  and  the  young 
Teresa  Gamba,  not  yet  sixteen,  and  just  emanci- 
pated from  a  convent,  was  the  selected  victim. 

The  first  time  Lord  Byron  had  ever  seen  this  lady 
was  in  the  autumn  of  1818,  when  she  made  her  ap- 
pearance, three  days  after  her  marriage,  at  the  house  of 
the  Countess  Albrizzi,  in  all  the  gaiety  of  bridal  array, 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  145 

and  the  first  delight  of  exchanging  a  convent  for  the 
world.  At  this  time,  however,  no  acquaintance  en- 
sued between  them ; — it  was  not  till  the  spring  of 
the  present  year  that,  at  an  evening  party  of 
Madame  Benzoni's,  they  were  introduced  to  each 
other.  The  love  that  sprung  out  of  this  meeting 
was  instantaneous  and  mutual,  though  with  the 
usual  disproportion  of  sacrifice  between  the  parties  ; 
such  an  event  being,  to  the  man,  but  one  of  the 
many  scenes  of  life,  while,  with  woman,  it  generally 
constitutes  the  whole  drama.  The  young  Italian 
found  herself  suddenly  inspired  with  a  passion  of 
which,  till  that  moment,  her  mind  could  not  have 
formed  the  least  idea ; — she  had  thought  of  love 
but  as  an  amusement,  and  now  became  its  slave. 
If  at  the  outset,  too,  less  slow  to  be  won  than  an 
Englishwoman,  no  sooner  did  she  begin  to  under- 
stand the  full  despotism  of  the  passion  than  her 
heart  shrunk  from  it  as  something  terrible,  and  she 
would  have  escaped,  but  that  the  chain  was  already 
around  her. 

No  words,  however,  can  describe  so  simply  and 
feelingly  as  her  own,  the  strong  impression  which 
their  first  meeting  left  upon  her  mind :  — 

"  I  became  acquainted  (says  Madame  Guiccioli) 
with  Lord  Byron  in  the  April  of  1819  :  —  he  was 
introduced  to  me  at  Venice,  by  the  Countess  Ben- 
zoni,  at  one  of  that  lady's  parties.  This  introduction, 
which  had  so  much  influence  over  the  lives  of  us 
both,  took  place  contrary  to  our  wishes,  and  had 
been  permitted  by  us  only  from  courtesy.  For 
myself,  more  fatigued  than  usual  that  evening  on 

VOL.  IV.  L 

146  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819- 

account  of  the  late  hours  they  keep  at  Venice,  I 
went  with  great  repugnance  to  this  party,  and  purely 
in  obedience  to  Count  Guiccioli.  Lord  Byron,  too, 
who  was  averse  to  forming  new  acquaintances,  — 
alleging  that  he  had  entirely  renounced  all  attach- 
ments, and  was  unwilling  any  more  to  expose  himself 
to  their  consequences,  —  on  being  requested  by  the 
countess  Benzoni  to  allow  himself  to  be  presented  to 
me,  refused,  and,  at  last,  only  assented  from  a  desire 
to  oblige  her. 

"  His  noble  and  exquisitely  beautiful  countenance, 
the  tone  of  his  voice,  his  manners,  the  thousand 
enchantments  that  surrounded  him,  rendered  him 
so  different  and  so  superior  a  being  to  any  whom  I 
had  hitherto  seen,  that  it  was  impossible  he  should 
not  have  left  the  most  profound  impression  upon 
me.  From  that  evening,  during  the  whole  of  my 
subsequent  stay  at  Venice,  we  met  every  day."  * 

*  "  Nell*  Aprile  del  1819,  io  feci  la  conoscenza  di  Lord 
Byron ;  e  mi  fu  presentato  a  Venezia  dalla  Contessa  Benzoni 
nella  di  lei  societa.  Questa  presentazione  che  ebbe  tante  con- 
sequenze  per  tutti  e  due  fu  fatta  contro  la  volonta  d'entrambi, 
e  solo  per  condiscendenza  1'abbiamo  permessa.  Io  stanca  piu 
che  mai  quella  sera  par  le  ore  tarde  che  si  costuma  fare  in  Ve- 
nezia andai  con  molta  ripugnanza  e  solo  per  ubbidire  al  Conte 
Guiccioli  in  quella  societa.  Lord  Byron  che  scansava  di  fare 
nuove  conoscenze,  dicendo  sempre  che  aveva  interamente  rinun- 
ciato  alle  passioni  e  che  non  voleva  esporsi  piu  alle  loro  conse- 
quenze,  quando  la  Contessa  Benzoni  la  preg6  di  volersi  far 
presentare  a  me  egli  recuso,  e  solo  per  la  compiacenza  glielo 
permise.  La  nobile  e  bellissima  sua  fisonomia,  il  suono  della 
sua  voce,  le  sue  maniere,  i  mille  incanti  che  Io  circondavano  Io 
rendevano  un  essere  cosi  differente,  cos}  superiore  a  tutti  quelli 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  147 

LETTER  328.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  May  15.  1819. 

"  I  have  got  your  extract,  and  the  *  Vampire.' 
I  need  not  say  it  is  not  mine.  There  is  a  rule  to  go 
by  :  you  are  my  publisher  (till  we  quarrel),  and 
what  is  not  published  by  you  is  not  written  by  me. 

"  Next  week  I  set  out  for  Romagna  —  at  least,  in 
all  probability.  You  had  better  go  on  with  the 
publications,  without  waiting  to  hear  farther,  for  I 
have  other  things  in  my  head.  *  Mazeppa '  and 
the  '  Ode '  separate?  —  what  think  you?  Juan 
anonymous,  without  the  Dedication  ;  for  I  won't  be 
shabby,  and  attack  Southey  under  cloud  of  night. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

In  another  letter  on  the  subject  of  the  Vampire, 
I  find  the  following  interesting  particulars  :  — 

TO  MR. 

"  The  story  of  Shelley's  agitation  is  true.*  I 
can't  tell  what  seized  him,  for  he  don't  want  courage. 

che  io  aveva  sino  allora  veduti  che  non  potei  a  meno  di  non 
provarne  la  piu  profonda  impressione.  Da  quella  sera  in  poi 
in  tutti  i  giorni  che  mi  fermai  in  Venezia  ei  siamo  sempre  ve- 
duti.'— MS. 

*  This  story,  as  given  in  the  Preface  to  the  "  Vampire,"  is 
as  follows :  — 

"  It  appears  that  one  evening  Lord  B.,  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley, 
two  ladies,  and  the  gentleman  before  alluded  to,  after  having 
perused  a  German  work  called  Phantasmagoria,  began  relating 
ghost  stories,  when  his  Lordship  having  recited  the  beginning 
of  Christabel,  then  unpublished,  the  whole  took  so  strong  a 
L  2 

148  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

He  was  once  with  me  in  a  gale  of  wind,  in  a  small 
boat,  right  under  the  rocks  between  Meillerie  and 
St.  Gingo.  We  were  five  in  the  boat  —  a  servant, 
two  boatmen,  and  ourselves.  The  sail  was  misman- 
aged, and  the  boat  was  filling  fast.  He  can't  swim. 
I  stripped  off  my  coat,  made  him  strip  off  his,  and 
take  hold  of  an  oar,  telling  him  that  I  thought  (being 
myself  an  expert  swimmer)  I  could  save  him,  if  he 
would  not  struggle  when  I  took  hold  of  him  —  un- 
less we  got  smashed  against  the  rocks,  which  were 
high  and  sharp,  with  an  awkward  surf  on  them  at  that 
minute.  We  were  then  about  a  hundred  yards  from 
shore,  and  the  boat  in  peril.  He  answered  me  with 
the  greatest  coolness,  *  that  he  had  no  notion  of 
being  saved,  and  that  I  would  have  enough  to  do  to 
save  myself,  and  begged  not  to  trouble  me.'  Luckily, 
the  boat  righted,  and,  bailing,  we  got  round  a  point 
into  St.  Gingo,  where  the  inhabitants  came  down 
and  embraced  the  boatmen  on  their  escape,  the 
wind  having  been  high  enough  to  tear  up  some 
huge  trees  from  the  Alps  above  us,  as  we  saw  next 

hold  of  Mr.  Shelley's  mind,  that  he  suddenly  started  up,  and 
ran  out  of  the  room.  The  physician  and  Lord  Byron  followed, 
and  discovered  him  leaning  against  a  mantel-piece,  with  cold 
drops  of  perspiration  trickling  down  his  face.  After  having 
given  him  something  to  refresh  him,  upon  enquiring  into  the 
cause  of  his  alarm,  they  found  that  his  wild  imagination  having 
pictured  to  him  the  bosom  of  one  of  the  ladies  with  eyes  (which 
was  reported  of  a  lady  in  the  neighbourhood  where  he  lived), 
he  was  obliged  to  leave  the  room  in  order  to  destroy  the  im- 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  149 

"  And  yet  the  same  Shelley,  who  was  as  cool  as  it 
was  possible  to  be  in  such  circumstances,  (of  which 
I  am  no  judge  myself,  as  the  chance  of  swimming 
naturally  gives  self-possession  when  near  shore,) 
certainly  had  the  fit  of  phantasy  which  Polidori 
describes,  though  not  exactly  as  he  describes  it. 

"  The  story  of  the  agreement  to  write  the  ghost- 
books  is  true  ;  but  the  ladies  are  not  sisters.  Mary 
Godwin  (now  Mrs.  Shelley)  wrote  Frankenstein, 
which  you  have  reviewed,  thinking  it  Shelley's. 
Methinks  it  is  a  wonderful  book  for  a  girl  of  nine- 
teen, —  not  nineteen,  indeed,  at  that  time.  J  enclose 
you  the  beginning  of  mine,  by  which  you  will  see 
how  far  it  resembles  Mr.  Colburn's  publication.  If 
you  choose  to  publish  it,  you  may,  stating  why,  and 
with  such  explanatory  proem  as  you  please.  I  never 
went  on  with  it,  as  you  will  perceive  by  the  date. 
I  began  it  in  an  old  account-book  of  Miss  Mil- 
banke's,  which  I  kept  because  it  contains  the  word 
'  Household,'  written  by  her  twice  on  the  inside 
blank  page  of  the  covers,  being  the  only  two  scraps 
I  have  in  the  world  in  her  writing,  except  her  name 
to  the  Deed  of  Separation.  Her  letters  I  sent  back 
except  those  of  the  quarrelling  correspondence,  and 
those,  being  documents,  are  placed  in  the  hands  of 
a  third  person,  with  copies  of  several  of  my  own ; 
so  that  I  have  no  kind  of  memorial  whatever  of 
her,  but  these  two  words,  —  and  her  actions.  I  have 
torn  the  leaves  containing  the  part  of  the  Tale  out 
of  the  book,  and  enclose  them  with  this  sheet. 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?  First  you  seem  hurt  by 
my  letter,  and  then,  in  your  next,  you  talk  of  its 
L  3 

150  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

<  power,'  and  so  forth.  <  This  is  a  d — d  blind  story, 
Jack  ;  but  never  mind,  go  on.'  You  may  be  sure  I 
said  nothing  on  purpose  to  plague  you  ;  but  if  you 
will  put  me  '  in  a  frenzy,  I  will  never  call  you  Jack 
again.'  I  remember  nothing  of  the  epistle  at  pre- 

"  What  do  you  mean  by  Polidori's  Diary  ?  Why, 
I  defy  him  to  say  any  thing  about  me,  but  he  is 
welcome.  I  have  nothing  to  reproach  me  with  on 
his  score,  and  I  am  much  mistaken  if  that  is  not 
his  own  opinion.  But  why  publish  the  names  of 
the  two  girls  ?  and  in  such  a  manner  ?  —  what  a 
blundering  piece  of  exculpation  !  He  asked  Pictet, 
&c.  to  dinner,  and  of  course  was  left  to  entertain 
them.  I  went  into  society  solely  to  present  Mm  (as 
I  told  him),  that  he  might  return  into  good  company 
if  he  chose ;  it  was  the  best  thing  for  his  youth  and 
circumstances  :  for  myself,  I  had  done  with  society, 
and,  having  presented  him,  withdrew  to  my  own 
*  way  of  life.'  It  is  true  that  I  returned  without 
entering  Lady  Dalrymple  Hamilton's,  because  I  saw 
it  full.  It  is  true  that  Mrs.  Hervey  (she  writes 
novels)  fainted  at  my  entrance  into  Coppet,  and 
then  came  back  again.  On  her  fainting,  the  Duchess 
de  Broglie  exclaimed,  *  This  is  too  much  —  at  sixty- 
Jive  years  of  age  ! '  —  I  never  gave  *  the  English '  an 
opportunity  of  avoiding  me  ;  but  I  trust  that,  if  ever 
I  do,  they  will  seize  it.  With  regard  to  Mazeppa 
and  the  Ode,  you  may  join  or  separate  them,  as  you 
please,  from  the  two  Cantos. 

"Don't  suppose  I  want  to  put  you  out  of  humour. 
I  have  a  great  respect  for  your  good  and  gentlemanly 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  151 

qualities,  and  return  your  personal  friendship  to- 
wards me ;  and  although  I  think  you  a  little  spoilt 
by  *  villanous  company,'  —  wits,  persons  of  honour 
about  town,  authors,  and  fashionables,  together  with 
your  '  I  am  just  going  to  call  at  Carlton  House,  are 
you  walking  that  way  ?  '  —  I  say,  notwithstanding 
*  pictures,  taste,  Shakspeare,  and  the  musical  glasses,' 
you  deserve  and  possess  the  esteem  of  those  whose 
esteem  is  worth  having,  and  of  none  more  (however 
useless  it  may  be)  than  yours  very  truly,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  Make  my  respects  to  Mr.  Gilford.  I  am 
perfectly  aware  that  '  Don  Juan'  must  set  us  all  by 
the  ears,  but  that  is  my  concern,  and  my  beginning. 
There  will  be  the  *  Edinburgh,'  and  all,  too,  against 
it,  so  that,  like  *  Rob  Roy,'  I  shall  have  my  hands 


«  Venice,  May  25.  1819. 

"  I  have  received  no  proofs  by  the  last  post,  and 
shall  probably  have  quitted  Venice  before  the  arrival 
of  the  next.  There  wanted  a  few  stanzas  to  the 
termination  of  Canto  first  in  the  last  proof;  the 
next  will,  I  presume,  contain  them,  and  the  whole 
or  a  portion  of  Canto  second ;  but  it  will  be  idle  to 
wait  for  further  answers  from  me,  as  I  have  directed 
that  my  letters  wait  for  my  return  (perhaps  in  a 
month,  and  probably  so) ;  therefore  do  not  wait  for 
further  advice  from  me.  You  may  as  well  talk  to 
the  wind,  and  better  —  for  it  will  at  least  convey 
your  accents  a  little  further  than  they  would  other- 
L  4 

152  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

wise  have  gone ;  whereas  /shall  neither  echo  nor  ac- 
quiesce in  your  '  exquisite  reasons.'  You  may  omit 
the  note  of  reference  to  Hobhouse's  travels,  in  Canto 
second,  and  you  will  put  as  motto  to  the  whole  — 

*  Difficile  est  proprie  communia  dicere.'  —  HORACE. 

"  A  few  days  ago  I  sent  you  all  I  know  of 
Polidori's  Vampire.  He  may  do,  say,  or  write, 
what  he  pleases,  but  I  wish  he  would  not  attribute 
to  me  his  own  compositions.  If  he  has  any  thing  of 
mine  in  his  possession,  the  MS.  will  put  it  beyond 
controversy ;  but  I  scarcely  think  that  any  one  who 
knows  me  would  believe  the  thing  in  the  Maga- 
zine to  be  mine,  even  if  they  saw  it  in  my  own 

"  I  write  to  you  in  the  agonies  of  a  sirocco^  which 
annihilates  me ;  and  I  have  been  fool  enough  to  do 
four  things  since  dinner,  which  are  as  well  omitted 
in  very  hot  weather:  Istly,  *  *  *  *;  2dly,  to 
play  at  billiards  from  10  to  12,  under  the  influence 
of  lighted  lamps,  that  doubled  the  heat ;  3dly,  to  go 
afterwards  into  a  red-hot  conversazione  of  the 
Countess  Benzoni's  ;  and,  4thly,  to  begin  this  letter 
at  three  in  the  morning  :  but  being  begun,  it  must 
be  finished. 

"  Ever  very  truly  and  affectionately  yours, 


"  P.  S.  I  petition  for  tooth-brushes,  powder,  mag- 
nesia, Macassar  oil  (or  Russia),  the  sashes,  and  Sir 
Nl.  Wraxall's  Memoirs  of  his  own  Times.  I  want, 
besides,  a  bull-dog,  a  terrier,  and  two  Newfoundland 
dogs ;  and  I  want  (is  it  Buck's  ?)  a  life  of  Richard  2d, 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  153 

advertised  by  Longman  long,  long,  long  ago ;  I  asked 
for  it  at  least  three  years  since.  See  Longman's 

About  the  middle  of  April,  Madame  Guiccioli  had 
been  obliged  to  quit  Venice  with  her  husband.  Hav- 
ing several  houses  on  the  road  from  Venice  to  Ra- 
venna, it  was  his  habit  to  stop  at  these  mansions,  one 
after  the  other,  in  his  journeys  between  the  two 
cities;  and  from  all  these  places  the  enamoured 
young  Countess  now  wrote  to  Lord  Byron,  express- 
ing, in  the  most  passionate  and  pathetic  terms,  her 
despair  at  leaving  him.  So  utterly,  indeed,  did  this 
feeling  overpower  her,  that  three  times,  in  the  course 
of  her  first  day's  journey,  she  was  seized  with  fainting 
fits.  In  one  of  her  letters,  which  I  saw  when  at 
Venice,  dated,  if  I  recollect  right,  from  "  Ca  Zen, 
Cavanelle  di  Po,"  she  tells  him  that  the  solitude  of 
this  place,  which  she  had  before  found  irksome,  was, 
now  that  one  sole  idea  occupied  her  mind,  become 
dear  and  welcome  to  her,  and  promises  that,  as  soon 
as  she  arrives  at  Ravenna,  "  she  will,  according  to 
his  wish,  avoid  all  general  society,  and  devote  her- 
self to  reading,  music,  domestic  occupations,  riding 
on  horseback, — every  thing,  in  short,  that  she  knew 
he  would  most  like."  What  a  change  for  a  young 
and  simple  girl,  who,  but  a  few  weeks  before,  had 
thought  only  of  society  and  the  world,  but  who  now 
saw  no  other  happiness  but  in  the  hope  of  making 
herself  worthy,  by  seclusion  and  self-instruction,  of 
the  illustrious  object  of  her  devotion  ! 

On  leaving  this  place,  she  was  attacked  with  a 

154"  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819 

dangerous  illness  on  the  road,  and  arrived  half  dead 
at  Ravenna ;  nor  was  it  found  possible  to  revive  or 
comfort  her  till  an  assurance  was  received  from  Lord 
Byron,  expressed  with  all  the  fervour  of  real  passion, 
that,  in  the  course  of  the  ensuing  month,  he  would 
pay  her  a  visit.  Symptoms  of  consumption,  brought 
on  by  her  state  of  mind,  had  already  shown  them- 
selves ;  and,  in  addition  to  the  pain  which  this  se- 
paration had  caused  her,  she  was  also  suffering  much 
grief  from  the  loss  of  her  mother,  who,  at  this  time, 
died  in  giving  birth  to  her  fourteenth  child.  Towards 
the  latter  end  of  May  she  wrote  to  acquaint  Lord 
Byron  that,  having  prepared  all  her  relatives  and 
friends  to  expect  him,  he  might  now,  she  thought, 
venture  to  make  his  appearance  at  Ravenna.  Though, 
on  the  lady's  account,  hesitating  as  to  the  prudence 
of  such  a  step,  he,  in  obedience  to  her  wishes,  on 
the  2d  of  June,  set  out  from  La  Mira  (at  which  place 
he  had  again  taken  a  villa  for  the  summer),  and 
proceeded  towards  Romagna. 

From  Padua  he  addressed  a  letter  to  Mr.  Hoppner, 
chiefly  occupied  with  matters  of  household  concern 
which  that  gentleman  had  undertaken  to  manage  for 
him  at  Venice,  but,  on  the  immediate  object  of  his 
journey,  expressing  himself  in  a  tone  so  light  and 
jesting,  as  it  would  be  difficult  for  those  not  versed 
in  his  character  to  conceive  that  he  could  ever  bring 
himself,  while  under  the  influence  of  a  passion  so 
sincere,  to  assume.  But  such  is  ever  the  wanton- 
ness of  the  mocking  spirit,  from  which  nothing,  — 
not  even  love, — remains  sacred  ;  and  which,  at  last, 
for  want  of  other  food,  turns  upon  himself.  The 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  155 

same  horror,  too,  of  hypocrisy  that  led  Lord  Byron 
to  exaggerate  his  own  errors,  led  him  also  to  dis- 
guise, under  a  seemingly  heartless  ridicule,  all  those 
natural  and  kindly  qualities  by  which  they  were 

This  letter  from  Padua  concludes  thus :  — 

"  A  journey  in  an  Italian  June  is  a  conscription  ; 
and  if  1  was  not  the  most  constant  of  men,  I  should 
now  be  swimming  from  the  Lido,  instead  of  smoking 
in  the  dust  of  Padua.  Should  there  be  letters  from 
England,  let  them  wait  my  return.  And  do  look  at 
my  house  and  (not  lands,  but)  waters,  and  scold  ;  — 
and  deal  out  the  monies  to  Edgecombe*  with  an  air 
of  reluctance  and  a  shake  of  the  head  —  and  put 
queer  questions  to  him  —  and  turn  up  your  nose 
when  he  answers. 

"  Make  my  respect  to  the  Consules  —  and  to  the 
Chevalier  —  and  to  Scotin  —  and  to  all  the  counts 
and  countesses  of  our  acquaintance. 
"  And  believe  me  ever 

"  Your  disconsolate  and  affectionate," &c. 

As  a  contrast  to  the  strange  levity  of  this  letter, 
as  well  as  in  justice  to  the  real  earnestness  of  the 
passion,  however  censurable  in  all  other  respects, 
that  now  engrossed  him,  I  shall  here  transcribe  some 
stanzas  which  he  wrote  in  the  course  of  this  journey 
to  Romagna,  and  which,  though  already  published,  are 
not  comprised  in  the  regular  collection  of  his  works. 

*  A  clerk  of  the  English  Consulate,  whom  he  at  this  time 
employed  to  control  his  accounts 

156  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

"  River*,  that  rollcst  by  the  ancient  walls, 

Where  dwells  the  lady  of  my  love,  when  she 
Walks  by  thy  brink,  and  there  perchance  recalls 
A  faint  and  fleeting  memory  of  me ; 

"  What  if  thy  deep  and  ample  stream  should  be 
A  mirror  of  my  heart,  where  she  may  read 
The  thousand  thoughts  I  now  betray  to  thee, 
Wild  as  thy  wave,  and  headlong  as  thy  speed ! 

"  What  do  I  say  —  a  mirror  of  my  heart  ? 

Are  not  thy  waters  sweeping,  dark,  and  strong  ? 
Such  as  my  feelings  were  and  are,  thou  art ; 
And  such  as  thou  art  were  my  passions  long. 

"  Time  may  have  somewhat  tamed  them, — not  for  ever; 

Thou  overflow'st  thy  banks,  and  not  for  aye 
Thy  bosom  overboils,  congenial  river  ! 

Thy  floods  subside,  and  mine  have  sunk  away, 

"  But  left  long  wrecks  behind,  and  now  again, 

Borne  in  our  old  unchanged  career,  we  move ; 
Thou  tendest  wildly  onwards  to  the  main, 
And  I  —  to  loving  one  I  should  not  love. 

"  The  current  I  behold  will  sweep  beneath 

Her  native  walls  and  murmur  at  her  feet ; 
Her  eyes  will  look  on  thee,  when  she  shall  breathe 
The  twilight  air,  unharm'd  by  summer's  heat. 

"  She  will  look  on  thee,  —  I  have  look'd  on  thee, 

Full  of  that  thought ;  and,  from  that  moment,  ne'er 
Thy  waters  could  I  dream  of,  name,  or  see, 
Without  the  inseparable  sigh  for  her ! 

*  The  Po. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  157 

"  Her  bright  eyes  will  be  imaged  in  thy  stream,  — 
Yes  !  they  will  meet  the  wave  I  gaze  on  now : 
Mine  cannot  witness,  even  in  a  dream, 
That  happy  wave  repass  me  in  its  flow  ! 

"  The  wave  that  bears  my  tears  returns  no  more  : 

Will  she  return  by  whom  that  wave  shall  sweep?  — 
Both  tread  thy  banks,  both  wander  on  thy  shore, 
I  by  thy  source,  she  by  the  dark-blue  deep. 

"But  that  which  keepeth  us  apart  is  not 

Distance,  nor  depth  of  wave,  nor  space  of  earth. 
But  the  distraction  of  a  various  lot, 
As  various  as  the  climates  of  our  birth. 

"  A  stranger  loves  the  lady  of  the  land, 

Born  far  beyond  the  mountains,  but  his  blood 
Is  all  meridian,  as  if  never  fann'd 

By  the  black  wind  that  chills  the  polar  flood. 

"  My  blood  is  all  meridian ;  were  it  not, 

I  had  not  left  my  clime,  nor  should  I  be, 
In  spite  of  tortures,  ne'er  to  be  forgot, 
A  slave  again  of  love,  —  at  least  of  thee. 

"  'Tis  vain  to  struggle  —  let  me  perish  young  — 

Live  as  I  lived,  and  love  as  I  have  loved ; 
To  dust  if  I  return,  from  dust  I  sprung, 

And  then,  at  least,  my  heart  can  ne'er  be  moved." 

On  arriving  at  Bologna  and  receiving  no  further 
intelligence  from  the  Contessa,  he  began  to  be  of 
opinion,  as  we  shall  perceive  in  the  annexed  interest- 
ing letters,  that  he  should  act  most  prudently,  for  all 
parties,  by  returning  to  Venice. 

158  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

LETTER  330.        TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Bologna,  June  6.  1819. 

"  I  am  at  length  joined  to  Bologna,  where  I  am 
settled  like  a  sausage,  and  shall  be  broiled  like  one, 
if  this  weather  continues.  Will  you  thank  Mengaldo 
on  my  part  for  the  Ferrara  acquaintance,  which  was 
a  very  agreeable  one.  I  stayed  two  days  at  Ferrara, 
and  was  much  pleased  with  the  Count  Mosti,  and 
the  little  the  shortness  of  the  time  permitted  me  to 
see  of  his  family.  I  went  to  his  conversazione, 
which  is  very  far  superior  to  any  thing  of  the  kind 
at  Venice — the  women  almost  all  young — several 
pretty — and  the  men  courteous  and  cleanly.  The 
lady  of  the  mansion,  who  is  young,  lately  married, 
and  with  child,  appeared  very  pretty  by  candlelight 
(I  did  not  see  her  by  day),  pleasing  in  her  manners, 
and  very  lady-like,  or  thorough-bred,  as  we  call  it  in 
England, — a  kind  of  thing  which  reminds  one  of  a 
racer,  an  antelope,  or  an  Italian  greyhound.  She 
seems  very  fond  of  her  husband,  who  is  amiable  and 
accomplished ;  he  has  been  in  England  two  or  three 
times,  and  is  young.  The  sister,  a  Countess  some- 
body—  I  forget  what — (they  are  both  Maffei  by 
birth,  and  Veronese  of  course)  —  is  a  lady  of  more 
display ;  she  sings  and  plays  divinely  ;  but  I  thought 
she  was  a  d— d  long  time  about  it.  Her  likeness 
to  Madame  Flahaut  (Miss  Mercer  that  was)  is 
something  quite  extraordinary. 

"  I  had  but  a  bird's  eye  view  of  these  people,  and 
shall  not  probably  see  them  again ;  but  I  am  very 
much  obliged  to  Mengaldo  for  letting  me  see  them 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  159 

at  all.  Whenever  I  meet  with  any  thing  agreeable 
in  this  world,  it  surprises  me  so  much,  and  pleases 
me  so  much  (when  my  passions  are  not  interested 
one  way  or  the  other),  that  I  go  on  wondering  for  a 
week  to  come.  I  feel,  too,  in  great  admiration  of 
the  Cardinal  Legate's  red  stockings. 

"  I  found,  too,  such  a  pretty  epitaph  in  the 
Certosa  cemetery,  or  rather  two :  one  was 

'  Martini  Luigi 
Implora  pace ;' 

the  other, 

*  Lucrezia  Picini 

Implora  eterna  quiete.' 

That  was  all ;  but  it  appears  to  me  that  these  two 
and  three  words  comprise  and  compress  all  that  can 
be  said  on  the  subject, — and  then,  in  Italian,  they 
are  absolute  music.  They  contain  doubt,  hope,  and 
humility;  nothing  can  be  more  pathetic  than  the 
*  implora'  and  the  modesty  of  the  request; — they 
have  had  enough  of  life — they  want  nothing  but  rest 
—  they  implore  it,  and  '  eterna  quiete.'  It  is  like  a 
Greek  inscription  in  some  good  old  heathen  '  City 
of  the  Dead.'  Pray,  if  I  am  shovelled  into  the  Lido 
churchyard  in  your  time,  let  me  have  the  '  implora 
pace,'  and  nothing  else,  for  my  epitaph.  I  never 
met  with  any,  ancient  or  modern,  that  pleased  me  a 
tenth  part  so  much. 

"  In  about  a  day  or  two  after  you  receive  this 
letter,  I  will  thank  you  to  desire  Edgecombe  to 
prepare  for  my  return.  I  shall  go  back  to  Venice 
before  I  village  on  the  Brenta.  I  shall  stay  but  a 

160  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

few  days  in  Bologna.  I  am  just  going  out  to  see  sights, 
but  shall  not  present  my  introductory  letters  for  a 
day  or  two,  till  I  have  run  over  again  the  place  and 
pictures ;  nor  perhaps  at  all,  if  I  find  that  I  have 
books  and  sights  enough  to  do  without  the  inha- 
bitants. After  that,  I  shall  return  to  Venice,  where 
you  may  expect  me  about  the  eleventh,  or  perhaps 
sooner.  Pray  make  my  thanks  acceptable  to  Men- 
galdo:  my  respects  to  the  Consuless,  and  to  Mr. 
Scott.  I  hope  my  daughter  is  well. 

"  Ever  yours,  and  truly. 

«  P.  S.  I  went  over  the  Ariosto  MS.  &c.  &c. 
again  at  Ferrara,  with  the  castle,  and  cell,  and 
house,  &c.  &c. 

"  One  of  the  Ferrarese  asked  me  if  I  knew  '  Lord 
Byron,'  an  acquaintance  of  his,  now  at  Naples.  I 
told  him  *  No!'  which  was  true  both  ways;  for  I 
knew  not  the  impostor,  and  in  the  other,  no  one 
knows  himself.  He  stared  when  told  that  I  was 
'  the  real  Simon  Pure.'  Another  asked  me  if  I  had 
not  translated  «  Tasso.'  You  see  what  fame  is ! 
how  accurate!  how  boundless!  I  don't  know  how 
others  feel,  but  I  am  always  the  lighter  and  the 
better  looked  on  when  I  have  got  rid  of  mine ;  it 
sits  on  me  like  armour  on  the  Lord  Mayor's  cham- 
pion ;  and  I  got  rid  of  all  the  husk  of  literature,  and 
the  attendant  babble,  by  answering,  that  I  had  not 
translated  Tasso,  but  a  namesake  had ;  and  by  the 
blessing  of  Heaven,  I  looked  so  little  like  a  poet,  that 
every  body  believed  me." 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  161 

LETTER  331.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Bologna,  June  7.  1819. 

"  Tell  Mr.  Hobhouse  that  I  wrote  to  him  a  few 
days  ago  from  Ferrara.  It  will  therefore  be  idle  in 
him  or  you  to  wait  for  any  further  answers  or  returns 
of  proofs  from  Venice,  as  I  have  directed  that  no 
English  letters  be  sent  after  me.  The  publication 
can  be  proceeded  in  without,  and  I  am  already  sick 
of  your  remarks,  to  which  I  think  not  the  least 
attention  ought  to  be  paid. 

"  Tell  Mr.  Hobhouse  that,  since  I  wrote  to  him, 
I  had  availed  myself  of  my  Ferrara  letters,  and 
found  the  society  much  younger  and  better  there 
than  at  Venice.  I  am  very  much  pleased  with  the 
little  the  shortness  of  my  stay  permitted  me  to  see 
of  the  Gonfaloniere  Count  Mosti,  and  his  family  and 
friends  in  general. 

"  I  have  been  picture-gazing  this  morning  at  the 
famous  Domenichino  and  Guido,  both  of  which  are 
superlative.  1  afterwards  went  to  the  beautiful 
cemetery  of  Bologna,  beyond  the  walls,  and  found, 
besides  the  superb  burial-ground,  an  original  of  a 
Custode,  who  reminded  one  of  the  grave-digger  in 
Hamlet.  He  has  a  collection  of  capuchins'  skulls, 
labelled  on  the  forehead,  and  taking  down  one  of 
them,  said,  *  This  was  Brother  Desiderio  Berro,  who 
died  at  forty — one  of  my  best  friends.  I  begged 
his  head  of  his  brethren  after  his  decease,  and  they 
gave  it  me.  I  put  it  in  lime,  and  then  boiled  it.  Here 
it  is,  teeth  and  all,  in  excellent  preservation.  He  was 
the  merriest,  cleverest  fellow  I  ever  knew.  Wherever 

VOL.  IV.  M 

162  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

he  went,  be  brought  joy ;  and  whenever  any  one  was 
melancholy,  the  sight  of  him  was  enough  to  make 
him  cheerful  again.  He  walked  so  actively,  you 
might  have  taken  him  for  a  dancer — he  joked — he 
laughed — oh  !  he  was  such  a  Frate  as  I  never  saw 
before,  nor  ever  shall  again  ! ' 

"  He  told  me  that  he  had  himself  planted  all  the 
cypresses  in  the  cemetery ;  that  he  had  the  greatest 
attachment  to  them  and  to  his  dead  people;  that 
since  1801  they  had  buried  fifty-three  thousand 
persons.  In  showing  some  older  monuments,  there 
was  that  of  a  Roman  girl  of  twenty,  with  a  bust  by 
Bernini.  She  was  a  princess  Bartorini,  dead  two 
centuries  ago :  he  said  that,  on  opening  her  grave, 
they  had  found  her  hair  complete,  and  {  as  yellow  as 
gold.'  Some  of  the  epitaphs  at  Ferrara  pleased  me 
more  than  the  more  splendid  monuments  at  Bologna; 
for  instance:  — 

"  Martini  Luigi 
Jmplora  pace ; 

"  Lucrezia  Picini 

Implora  eterna  quiete. 

Can  any  thing  be  more  full  of  pathos  ?  Those  few 
words  say  all  that  can  be  said  or  sought :  the  dead 
had  had  enough  of  life ;  all  they  wanted  was  rest, 
and  this  they  implore  !  There  is  all  the  helplessness, 
and  humble  hope,  and  deathlike  prayer,  that  can 
arise  from  the  grave — <  implora  pace.'*  I  hope, 

*  Though  Lord  Byron,  like  most  other  persons,  in  writ- 
ing to  different  friends,  was  sometimes  led  to  repeat  the  same 
circumstances  and  thoughts,  there  is,  from  the  ever  ready 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  163 

whoever  may  survive  me,  and  shall  see  me  put  in 
the  foreigners'  burying-ground  at  the  Lido,  within 
the  fortress  by  the  Adriatic,  will  see  those  two 
words,  and  no  more,  put  over  me.  I  trust  they 
won't  think  of  *  pickling,  and  bringing  me  home  to 
Clod  or  Blunderbuss  Hall.'  I  am  sure  my  bones 
would  not  rest  in  an  English  grave,  or  my  clay  mix 
with  the  earth  of  that  country.  I  believe  the 
thought  would  drive  me  mad  on  my  deathbed, 
could  I  suppose  that  any  of  my  friends  would  be  base 
enough  to  convey  my  carcass  back  to  your  soil.  I 
would  not  even  feed  your  worms,  if  I  could  help  it. 

"  So,  as  Shakspeare  says  of  Mowbray,  the  banished 
Duke  of  Norfolk,  who  died  at  Venice  (see  Richard  II.) 
that  he,  after  fighting 

"  '  Against  black  Pagans,  Turks,  and  Saracens, 
And  toiled  with  works  of  war,  retired  himself 
To  Italy,  and  there,  at  Venice,  gave 
His  body  to  that  pleasant  country's  earth, 
And  his  pure  soul  unto  his  captain,  Christ, 
Under  whose  colours  he  had  fought  so  long.' 

"  Before  I  left  Venice,  I  had  returned  to  you  your 
late,  and  Mr.  Hobhouse's  sheets  of  Juan.  Don't  wait 
for  further  answers  from  me,  but  address  yours  to 

fertility  of  his  mind,  much  less  of  such  repetition  in  his  cor- 
respondence than  in  that,  perhaps,  of  any  other  multifarious 
letter-writer ;  and,  in  the  instance  before  us,  where  the  same 
facts  and  reflections  are,  for  the  second  time,  introduced,  it  is 
with  such  new  touches,  both  of  thought  and  expression,  as 
render  them,  even  a  second  time,  interesting  ;  — what  is  want- 
ing in  the  novelty  of  the  matter  being  made  up  by  the  neAv 
aspect  given  to  it. 

M    2 

164-  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

Venice,  as  usual.  I  know  nothing  of  my  own  move- 
ments ;  I  may  return  there  in  a  few  days,  or  not  for 
some  time.  All  this  depends  on  circumstances.  1 
left  Mr.  Hoppner  very  well.  My  daughter  Allegra 
was  well  too,  and  is  growing  pretty ;  her  hair  is 
growing  darker,  and  her  eyes  are  blue.  Her  tem- 
per and  her  ways,  Mr.  Hoppner  says,  are  like  mine, 
as  well  as  her  features :  she  will  make,  in  that  case, 
a  manageable  young  lady. 

"  I  have  never  heard  any  thing  of  Ada,  the  little 
Electra  of  Mycenae.  But  there  will  come  a  day  of 
reckoning,  even  if  I  should  not  live  to  see  it.*  What 
a  long  letter  I  have  scribbled !  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  Here,  as  in  Greece,  they  strew  flowers  on 
the  tombs.  I  saw  a  quantity  of  rose-leaves,  and 
entire  roses,  scattered  over  the  graves  at  Ferrara. 
It  has  the  most  pleasing  effect  you  can  imagine." 

While  he  was  thus  lingering  irresolute  at  Bo- 

*  There  were,  in  the  former  edition,  both  here  and  in  a 
subsequent  letter,  some  passages  reflecting  upon  the  late  Sir 
Samuel  Romilly,  which,  in  my  anxiety  to  lay  open  the  work- 
ings of  Lord  Byron's  mind  upon  a  subject  in  which  so  much 
of  his  happiness  and  character  were  involved,  I  had  been  in- 
duced to  retain,  though  aware  of  the  erroneous  impression 
under  which  they  were  written ;  —  the  evident  morbidness  of 
the  feeling  that  dictated  the  attack,  and  the  high,  stainless 
reputation  of  the  person  assailed,  being  sufficient,  I  thought, 
to  neutralise  any  ill  effects  such  reflections  might  otherwise 
have  produced.  As  I  find  it,  however,  to  be  the  opinion  of 
all  those  whose  opinions  I  most  respect,  that,  even  with  these 
antidotes,  such  an  attack  upon  such  a  man  ought  not  to  be 
left  on  record,  I  willingly  expunge  all  trace  of  it  from  these 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  165 

logna,  the  Countess  Guiccioli  had  been  attacked 
with  an  intermittent  fever,  the  violence  of  which, 
combining  with  the  absence  of  a  confidential  person 
to  whom  she  had  been  in  the  habit  of  intrusting  her 
letters,  prevented  her  from  communicating  with 
him.  At  length,  anxious  to  spare  him  the  disap- 
pointment of  finding  her  so  ill  on  his  arrival,  she 
had  begun  a  letter,  requesting  that  he  would  remain 
at  Bologna  till  the  visit  to  which  she  looked  forward 
should  bring  her  there  also  ;  and  was  in  the  act  of 
writing,  when  a  friend  came  in  to  announce  the 
arrival  of  an  English  lord  in  Ravenna.  She  could 
not  doubt  for  an  instant  that  it  was  her  noble  friend; 
and  he  had,  in  fact,  notwithstanding  his  declaration 
to  Mr.  Hoppner  that  it  was  his  intention  to  return 
to  Venice  immediately,  wholly  altered  this  resolution 
before  the  letter  announcing  it  was  despatched,  — 
the  following  words  being  written  on  the  outside 
cover  :  —  "  I  am  just  setting  off  for  Ravenna,  June  8. 
1819. — I  changed  my  mind  this  morning,  and  de- 
cided to  go  on." 

The  reader,  however,  shall  have  Madame  Guic- 
cioli's  own  account  of  these  events,  which,  fortu- 
nately for  the  interest  of  my  narration,  I  am  enabled 
to  communicate. 

"  On  my  departure  from  Venice,  he  had  promised 
to  come  and  see  me  at  Ravenna.  Dante's  tomb,  the 
classical  pine  wood*,  the  relics  of  antiquity  which 

*  "  Tal  qual  di  ramo  in  ramo  si  raccoglie 
Per  la  pineta  in  sul  lito  di  Chiassi, 
Quando  Eolo  Scirocco  fuor  discioglie." 
DANTE,  PURG.   Cauto 
M   3 

166  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

are  to  be  found  in  that  place,  afforded  a  sufficient 
pretext  for  me  to  invite  him  to  come,  and  for  him  to 
accept  my  invitation.  He  came,  in  fact,  in  the 
month  of  June,  arriving  at  Ravenna  on  the  day  of 
the  festival  of  the  Corpus  Domini ;  while  I,  attacked 
by  a  consumptive  complaint,  which  had  its  origin 
from  the  moment  of  my  quitting  Venice,  appeared 
on  the  point  of  death.  The  arrival  of  a  distinguished 
foreigner  at  Ravenna,  a  town  so  remote  from  the 
routes  ordinarily  followed  by  travellers,  was  an  event 
which  gave  rise  to  a  good  deal  of  conversation.  His 
motives  for  such  a  visit  became  the  subject  of  dis- 
cussion, and  these  he  himself  afterwards  involun- 
tarily divulged;  for  having  made  some  enquiries 
with  a  view  to  paying  me  a  visit,  and  being  told 
that  it  was  unlikely  that  he  would  ever  see  me  again, 
as  I  was  at  the  point  of  death,  he  replied,  if  such 
were  the  case,  he  hoped  that  he  should  die  also ; 
which  circumstance,  being  repeated,  revealed  the 
object  of  his  journey.  Count  Guiccioli,  having  been 
acquainted  with  Lord  Byron  at  Venice,  went  to 
visit  him  now,  and  in  the  hope  that  his  presence 
might  amuse,  and  be  of  some  use  to  me  in  the  state 
in  which  I  then  found  myself,  invited  him  to  call 
upon  me.  He  came  the  day  following.  It  is  im- 
possible to  describe  the  anxiety  he  showed, — the 
delicate  attentions  that  he  paid  me.  For  a  long  time 
he  had  perpetually  medical  books  in  his  hands  ;  and 

Dante  himself  (says  Mr.  Carey,  in  one  of  the  notes  on  his 
admirable  translation  of  this  poet)  "  perhaps  wandered  in  this 
wood  during  his  abode  with  Guido  Novello  da  Polenta." 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  167 

not  trusting  my  physicians,  he  obtained  permission 
from  Count  Guiccioli  to  send  for  a  very  clever  phy- 
sician, a  friend  of  his,  in  whom  he  placed  great  con- 
fidence. The  attentions  of  Professor  Aglietti  (for 
so  this  celebrated  Italian  was  called),  together  with 
tranquillity,  and  the  inexpressible  happiness  which 
I  experienced  in  Lord  Byron's  society,  had  so  good 
an  effect  on  my  health,  that  only  two  months  after- 
wards I  was  able  to  accompany  my  husband  in  a 
tour  he  was  obliged  to  make  to  visit  his  various 
estates."  * 

*  "  Partendo  io  da  Venezia  egli  promise  di  venir  a  vedermi 
a  Ravenna.  La  Tomba  di  Dante,  il  classico  bosco  di  pini, 
gli  avvanzi  di  antichita  che  a  Ravenna  si  trovano  davano  a  me 
ragioni  plausibili  per  invitarlo  a  venire,  ed  a  lui  per  accettare 
1'invito.  Egli  venne  difatti  nel  mese  Guigno,  e  giunse  a  Ra- 
venna nel  giorno  della  Solennita  del  Corpus  Domini,  mentre 
io  attaccata  da  una  malattia  de  consunzione  ch'  ebbe  principio 
dalla  mia  partenza  da  Venezia  ero  vicina  a  morire.  Li'arrivo 
in  Ravenna  d'un  forestiero  distinto,  in  un  paese  cosl  lontano 
dalle  strade  che  ordinariamente  tengono  i  viaggiatori  era  un 
avvenimento  del  quale  molto  si  parlava,  indagandosene  i  mo- 
tivi,  che  involontariamente  poi  egli  feci  conoscere.  Perche 
avendo  egli  domandato  di  me  per  venire  a  vedermi  ed  essen- 
dogli  risposto  '  che  non  potrebbe  vedermi  piu  perche  ero  vicina 
a  morire  '  —  egli  rispose  che  in  quel  caso  voleva  morire  egli 
pure  ;  la  qual  cosa  essendosi  poi  ripetata  si  conobbe  cosi  1'og- 
getto  del  suo  viaggio. 

"  II  Conte  Guiccioli  visito  Lord  Byron,  essendolo  conosciuto 
in  Venezia,  e  nella  speranza  che  la  di  lui  compagnia  potesse 
distrarmi  ed  essermi  di  qual  che  giovamento  nello  stato  in  cui 
mi  trovavo  egli  Io  invito  di  venire  a  visitarmi.  II  giorno  ap- 
presso  egli  venne.  Non  si  potrebbero  descrivere  le  cure,  i 
pensieri  delicati,  quanto  egli  fece  per  me.  Per  molto  tempo 
M  4 

168  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819 

LETTER  332.        TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Ravenna,  June  20.  1819. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  from  Padua,  and  from  Bologna, 
and  since  from  Ravenna.  I  find  my  situation  very 
agreeable,  but  want  my  horses  very  much,  there 
being  good  riding  in  the  environs.  I  can  fix  no  time 
for  my  return  to  Venice  —  it  may  be  soon  or  late — 
or  not  at  all  —  it  all  depends  on  the  Donna,  whom  I 
found  very  seriously  in  bed  with  a  cough  and  spitting 
of  blood,  &c.  all  of  which  has  subsided.  I  found  all 
the  people  here  firmly  persuaded  that  she  would 
never  recover  ; — they  were  mistaken,  however. 

"  My  letters  were  useful  as  far  as  I  employed 
them  ;  and  I  like  both  the  place  and  people,  though 
I  don't  trouble  the  latter  more  than  I  can  help 
She  manages  very  well — but  if  I  come  away  with  a 
stiletto  in  my  gizzard  some  fine  afternoon,  I  shall  not 
be  astonished.  I  can't  make  him  out  at  all — he  visits 
me  frequently,  and  takes  me  out  (like  Whittington, 
the  Lord  Mayor)  in  a  coach  arid  six  horses.  The 
fact  appears  to  be,  that  he  is  completely  governed 

egli  non  ebbe  per  le  inani  che  del  Libri  di  Medicina ;  e  poco 
confidandosi  nel  miei  medici  ottenne  dal  Conte  Guiccioli  il 
permesso  di  far  venire  un  valente  medico  di  lui  amico  nel 
quale  egli  aveva  molta  confidenza.  Le  cure  del  Professore 
Aglietti  (cosi  si  chiama  questo  distinto  Italiano)  la  tranquillita, 
anzi  la  felicita  inesprimibile  che  mi  cagionava  la  presenza  di 
Lord  Byron  migliorarono  cosl  rapidamente  la  mia  salute  che 
entro  lo  spazio  di  due  mesi  potei  seguire  mio  marito  in  un  giro 
che  egli  doveva  fare  per  le  sue  terre."  —  MS* 

1819.  LIFE,    OF    LORD    BYRON.  169 

by  her — for  that  matter,  so  am  I.*  The  people 
here  don't  know  what  to  make  of  us,  as  he  had  the 
character  of  jealousy  with  all  his  wives — this  is  the 
third.  He  is  the  richest  of  the  Ravennese,  by  their 
own  account,  but  is  not  popular  among  them.  Now 
do,  pray,  send  off  Augustine,  and  carriage  and  cattle, 
to  Bologna,  without  fail  or  delay,  or  I  shall  lose  my 
remaining  shred  of  senses.  Don't  forget  this.  My 
coming,  going,  and  every  thing,  depend  upon  HER 
entirely,  just  as  Mrs.  Hoppner  (to  whom  I  remit  my 
reverences)  said  in  the  true  spirit  of  female  pro- 

"  You  are  but  a  shabby  fellow  not  to  have  written 
before.  And  I  am  truly  yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  333.         TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  June  29.  1819. 

"  The  letters  have  been  forwarded  from  Venice, 
but  I  trust  that  you  will  not  have  waited  for  further 
alterations  —  I  will  make  none. 

*  That  this  task  of  "  governing"  him  was  one  of  more  ease 
than,  from  the  ordinary  view  of  his  character,  might  be  con- 
cluded, I  have  more  than  once,  in  these  pages,  expressed  my 
opinion,  arid  shall  here  quote,  in  corroboration  of  it,  the  remark 
of  his  own  servant  (founded  on  an  observation  of  more  than 
twenty  years),  in  speaking  of  his  master's  matrimonial  fate  :  — 
"  It  is  very  odd,  but  I  never  yet  knew  a  lady  that  could  not 
manage  my  Lord,  except  my  Lady." 

"  More  knowledge,"  says  Johnson,  "  may  be  gained  of  a 
man's  real  character  by  a  short  conversation  with  one  of  his 
servants  than  from  the  most  formal  and  studied  narrative." 

170  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

"  I  have  no  time  to  return  you  the  proofs  —  pub- 
lish without  them.  I  am  glad  you  think  the  poesy 
good  ;  and  as  to  <  thinking  of  the  effect,'  think  you 
of  the  sale,  and  leave  me  to  pluck  the  porcupines 
who  may  point  their  quills  at  you. 

"  I  have  been  here  (at  Ravenna)  these  four  weeks, 
having  left  Venice  a  month  ago ; —  I  came  to  see  my 
(  Arnica,'  the  Countess  Guiccioli,  who  has  been,  and 
still  continues,  very  unwell.  *  *  She  is  only 
in  her  seventeenth,  but  not  of  a  strong  constitution. 
She  has  a  perpetual  cough  and  an  intermittent  fever, 
but  bears  up  most  gallantly  in  every  sense  of  the 
word.  Her  husband  (this  is  his  third  wife)  is  the 
richest  noble  of  Ravenna,  and  almost  of  Romagna ; 
he  is  also  not  the  youngest,  being  upwards  of  three- 
score, but  in  good  preservation.  All  this  will  appear 
strange  to  you,  who  do  not  understand  the  meridian 
morality,  nor  our  way  of  life  in  such  respects,  and  I 
cannot  at  present  expound  the  difference  ; — but  you 
would  find  it  much  the  same  in  these  parts.  At 
Faenza  there  is  Lord  *  *  *  *  with  an  opera  girl;  and 
at  the  inn  in  the  same  town  is  a  Neapolitan  Prince, 
who  serves  the  wife  of  the  Gonfaloniere  of  that  city. 
I  am  on  duty  here  —  so  you  see  <  Cosl  fan  tutti  e 

"  I  have  my  horses  here,  saddle  as  well  as  carriage, 
and  ride  or  drive  every  day  in  the  forest,  the  Pineta, 
the  scene  of  Boccaccio's  novel,  and  Dryden's  fable  of 
Honoria,  £c.  &c. ;  and  I  see  my  Dama  every  day ; 
but  I  feel  seriously  uneasy  about  her  health,  which 
seems  very  precarious.  In  losing  her,  I  should  lose 
a  being  who  has  run  great  risks  on  my  account,  and 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  171 

whom  I  have  every  reason  to  love  —  but  I  must  not 
think  this  possible.  I  do  not  know  what  1  should  do 
if  she  died,  but  I  ought  to  blow  my  brains  out  —  and 
I  hope  that  I  should.  Her  husband  is  a  very  polite 
personage,  but  I  wish  he  would  not  carry  me  out  in 
his  coach  and  six,  like  Whittington  and  his  cat. 

"  You  ask  me  if  I  mean  to  continue  D.  J.  &c. 
How  should  I  know  ?  What  encouragement  do  you 
give  me,  all  of  you,  with  your  nonsensical  prudery  ? 
publish  the  two  Cantos,  and  then  you  will  see.  I 
desired  Mr.  Kinnaird  to  speak  to  you  on  a  little 
matter  of  business  ;  either  he  has  not  spoken,  or  you 
have  not  answered.  You  are  a  pretty  pair,  but  I  will 
be  even  with  you  both.  I  perceive  that  Mr.  Hob- 
house  has  been  challenged  by  Major  Cartwright  — 
Is  the  Major  *  so  cunning  offence  ?'  —  why  did  not 
they  fight  ?  —  they  ought. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  334.     TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Ravenna,  July  2.  1819. 

"  Thanks  for  your  letter  and  for  Madame's.  I 
will  answer  it  directly.  Will  you  recollect  whether 
I  did  not  consign  to  you  one  or  two  receipts  of 
Madame  Mocenigo's  for  house-rent  —  (I  am  not 
sure  of  this,  but  think  I  did  —  if  not,  they  will  be  in 
my  drawers)  —  and  will  you  desire  Mr.  Dorville  *  to 
have  the  goodness  to  see  if  Edgecombe  has  receipts 
to  all  payments  hitherto  made  by  him  on  my  account, 

*  The  Vice- Consul  of  Mr.  Hoppner. 

172  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

and  that  there  are  no  debts  at  Venice  ?  On  your 
answer,  I  shall  send  order  of  further  remittance  to 
carry  on  my  household  expenses,  as  my  present  re- 
turn to  Venice  is  very  problematical ;  and  it  may 
happen  —  but  I  can  say  nothing  positive  —  every 
thing  with  me  being  indecisive  and  undecided,  ex- 
cept the  disgust  which  Venice  excites  when  fairly 
compared  with  any  other  city  in  this  part  of  Italy. 
When  I  say  Venice,  I  mean  the  Venetians  —  the 
city  itself  is  superb  as  its  history  —  but  the  people 
are  what  I  never  thought  them  till  they  taught  me 
to  think  so. 

"  The  best  way  will  be  to  leave  Allegra  with 
Antonio's  spouse  till  I  can  decide  something  about 
her  and  myself —  but  I  thought  that  you  would  have 

had  an  answer  from  Mrs.  V r.*  You  have  had 

bore  enough  with  me  and  mine  already. 

"  I  greatly  fear  that  the  Guiccioli  is  going  into  a 
consumption,  to  which  her  constitution  tends.  Thus 
it  is  with  every  thing  and  every  body  for  whom  I  feel 
any  thing  like  a  real  attachment ;  — '  War,  death,  or 

*  An  English  widow  lady,  of  considerable  property  in  the 
north  of  England,  who,  having  seen  the  little  Allegra  at 
Mr.  Hoppner's,  took  an  interest  in  the  poor  child's  fate,  and 
having  no  family  of  her  own,  offered  to  adopt  and  provide  for 
this  little  girl,  if  Lord  Byron  would  consent  to  renounce  all 
claim  to  her.  At  first  he  seemed  not  disinclined  to  enter  into 
her  views  —  so  far,  at  least,  as  giving  permission  that  she 
should  take  the  child  with  her  to  England  and  educate  it ; 
but  the  entire  surrender  of  his  paternal  authority  he  would  by 
no  means  consent  to.  The  proposed  arrangement  accord- 
ingly was  never  carried  into  effect. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  173 

discord,  doth  lay  siege  to  them.'  I  never  even 
could  keep  alive  a  dog  that  I  liked  or  that  liked  me. 
Her  symptoms  are  obstinate  cough  of  the  lungs,  and 
occasional  fever,  &c.  &c.  and  there  are  latent  causes 
of  an  eruption  in  the  skin,  which  she  foolishly  re- 
pelled into  the  system  two  years  ago :  but  I  have 
made  them  send  her  case  to  Aglietti ;  and  have 
begged  him  to  come  —  if  only  for  a  day  or  two — to 
consult  upon  her  state. 

"  If  it  would  not  bore  Mr.  Dorville,  I  wish  he 

would  keep  an  eye  on  E and  on  my  other 

ragamuffins.  I  might  have  more  to  say,  but  I  am  ab- 
sorbed about  La  Gui.  and  her  illness.  I  cannot  tell 
you  the  effect  it  has  upon  me. 

"  The  horses  came,  &c.  &c.  and  I  have  been  gal- 
loping through  the  pine  forest  daily. 

"  Believe  me,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  My  benediction  on  Mrs.  Hoppner,  a  plea- 
sant journey  among  the  Bernese  tyrants,  and  safe 
return.  You  ought  to  bring  back  a  Platonic  Bernese 
for  my  reformation.  If  any  thing  happens  to  my 
present  Arnica,  I  have  done  with  the  passion  for 
ever  —  it  is  my  last  love.  As  to  libertinism,  I  have 
sickened  myself  of  that,  as  was  natural  in  the  way  I 
went  on,  and  I  have  at  least  derived  that  advantage 
from  vice,  to  love  in  the  better  sense  of  the  word. 
This  will  be  my  last  adventure — I  can  hope  no 
more  to  inspire  attachment,  and  I  trust  never  again 
to  feel  it." 

The  impression  which,  I  think,  cannot  but  be 
entertained,  from  some  passages  of  these  letters,  of 

174?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

the  real  fervour  and  sincerity  of  his  attachment  to 
Madame  Guiccioli  *,  would  be  still  further  confirmed 
by  the  perusal  of  his  letters  to  that  lady  herself,  both 
from  Venice  and  during  his  present  stay  at  Ravenna 
—  all  bearing,  throughout,  the  true  marks  both  of 
affection  and  passion.  Such  effusions,  however,  are 
but  little  suited  to  the  general  eye.  It  is  the  ten- 
dency of  all  strong  feeling,  from  dwelling  constantly 
on  the  same  idea,  to  be  monotonous  ;  and  those  often- 
repeated  vows  and  verbal  endearments,  which  make 
the  charm  of  true  love-letters  to  the  parties  con- 
cerned in  them,  must  for  ever  render  even  the  best 
of  them  cloying  to  others.  Those  of  Lord  Byron  to 
Madame  Guiccioli,  which  are  for  the  most  part  in 
Italian,  and  written  with  a  degree  of  ease  and  cor- 

*  "  During  my  illness,"  says  Madame  Guiccioli,  in  her 
recollections  of  this  period,  "  he  was  for  ever  near  me,  paying 
me  the  most  amiable  attentions,  and  when  I  became  con- 
valescent he  was  constantly  at  my  side.  In  society,  at  the 
theatre,  riding,  walking,  he  never  was  absent  from  me.  Being 
deprived  at  that  time  of  his  books,  his  horses,  and  all  that 
occupied  him  at  Venice,  I  begged  him  to  gratify  me  by  writing 
something  on  the  subject  of  Dante,  and,  with  his  usual  facility 
and  rapidity,  he  composed  his  '  Prophecy.'"  —  "  Durante  la 
mia  malattia  L.  B.  era  sempre  presso  di  me,  prestandomi  le 
piu  sensibili  cure,  e  quando  passai  allo  stato  di  convalescenza 
egli  era  sempre  al  mio  fianco  ;  —  e  in  societa,  e  al  teatro,  e 
cavalcando,  e  passeggiando  egli  non  si  allontanava  mai  da  me. 
In  queP  epoca  essendo  egli  privo  de'  suoi  libri,  e  de'  suoi 
cavalli,  e  di  tuttocio  che  lo  occupava  in  Venezia  io  lo  pregai  di 
volersi  occupare  per  me  scrivendo  qualche  cosa  sul  Dante ; 
ed  egli  colla  usata  sua  facilita  e  rapidita  scrisse  la  sua  Pro- 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYROX.  175 

rectness  attained  rarely  by  foreigners,  refer  chiefly 
to  the  difficulties  thrown  in  the  way  of  their  meet- 
ings,— not  so  much  by  the  husband  himself,  who 
appears  to  have  liked  and  courted  Lord  Byron's 
society,  as  by  the  watchfulness  of  other  relatives, 
and  the  apprehension  felt  by  themselves  lest  their 
intimacy  should  give  uneasiness  to  the  father  of 
the  lady,  Count  Gamba,  a  gentleman  to  whose 
good  nature  and  amiableness  of  character  all  who 
know  him  bear  testimony. 

In  the  near  approaching  departure  of  the  young 
Countess  for  Bologna,  Lord  Byron  foresaw  a  risk  ot 
their  being  again  separated;  and  under  the  impa- 
tience of  this  prospect,  though  through  the  whole 
of  his  preceding  letters  the  fear  of  committing  her 
by  any  imprudence  seems  to  have  been  his  ruling 
thought,  he  now,  with  that  wilfulness  of  the  moment 
which  has  so  often  sealed  the  destiny  of  years,  pro- 
posed that  she  should,  at  once,  abandon  her  husband 
and  fly  with  him :  —  "c'e  uno  solo  rimedio  efficace," 
he  says,  —  "  cioe  d'  andar  via  insieme."  To  an  Ita- 
lian wife,  almost  every  thing  but  this  is  permissible. 
The  same  system  which  so  indulgently  allows  her  a 
friend,  as  one  of  the  regular  appendages  of  her  ma- 
trimonial establishment,  takes  care  also  to  guard 
against  all  unseemly  consequences  of  this  privilege  ; 
and  in  return  for  such  convenient  facilities  of  wrong 
exacts  rigidly  an  observance  of  all  the  appearances 
of  right.  Accordingly,  the  open  step  of  deserting 
the  husband  for  the  lover  instead  of  being  considered, 
as  in  England,  but  a  sign  and  sequel  of  transgression, 
takes  rank,  in  Italian  morality,  as  the  main  transgres- 

176  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

sion  itself;  and  being  an  offence,  too,  rendered 
wholly  unnecessary  by  the  latitude  otherwise  en- 
joyed, becomes,  from  its  rare  occurrence,  no  less 
monstrous  than  odious. 

The  proposition,  therefore,  of  her  noble  friend 
seemed  to  the  young  Contessa  little  less  than  sacri- 
lege, and  the  agitation  of  her  mind,  between  the 
horrors  of  such  a  step,  and  her  eager  readiness  to 
give  up  all  and  every  thing  for  him  she  adored,  was 
depicted  most  strongly  in  her  answer  to  the  proposal. 
In  a  subsequent  letter,  too,  the  romantic  girl  even 
proposed,  as  a  means  of  escaping  the  ignominy  of  an 
elopement,  that  she  should,  like  another  Juliet,  "  pass 
for  dead,"  —  assuring  him  that  there  were  many 
easy  ways  of  effecting  such  a  deception. 

LETTER  335.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  August  1.  1819. 
[Address  your  Answer  to  Venice,  however.] 

"  Don't  be  alarmed.  You  will  see  me  defend 
myself  gaily — that  is,  if  I  happen  to  be  in  spirits; 
and  by  spirits,  I  don't  mean  your  meaning  of  the 
word,  but  the  spirit  of  a  bull-dog  when  pinched,  or 
a  bull  when  pinned  ;  it  is  then  that  they  make  best 
sport;  and  as  my  sensations  under  an  attack  are 
probably  a  happy  compound  of  the  united  energies 
of  these  amiable  animals,  you  may  perhaps  see  what 
Marrall  calls  l  rare  sport,'  and  some  good  tossing 
and  goring,  in  the  course  of  the  controversy.  But 
I  must  be  in  the  right  cue  first,  and  I  doubt  I  am 
almost  too  far  off  to  be  in  a  sufficient  fury  for  the 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  177 

purpose.  And  then  I  have  effeminated  and  ener- 
vated myself  with  love  and  the  summer  in  these  last 
two  months. 

"  I  wrote  to  Mr.  Hobhouse,  the  other  day,  and 
foretold  that  Juan  would  either  fall  entirely  or  suc- 
ceed completely;  there  will  be  no  medium.  Ap- 
pearances are  not  favourable ;  but  as  you  write  the 
day  after  publication,  it  can  hardly  be  decided  what 
opinion  will  predominate.  You  seem  in  a  fright, 
and  doubtless  with  cause.  Come  what  may  I  never 
will  flatter  the  million's  canting  in  any  shape.  Cir- 
cumstances may  or  may  not  have  placed  me  at  times 
in  a  situation  to  lead  the  public  opinion,  but  the 
public  opinion  never  led,  nor  ever  shall  lead,  me. 
I  will  not  sit  on  a  degraded  throne;  so  pray  put 
Messrs.  *  *  or  *  *,  or  Tom  Moore,  or  *  *  *  upon  it ; 
they  will  all  of  them  be  transported  with  their 

"  P.  S.  The  Countess  Guiccioli  is  much  better 
than  she  was.  I  sent  you,  before  leaving  Venice, 
the  real  original  sketch  which  gave  rise  to  the 
'  Vampire,'  &c. — Did  you  get  it  ?" 

This  letter  was,  of  course  (like  most  of  those  he 
addressed  to  England  at  this  time),  intended  to  be 
shown ;  and  having  been,  among  others,  permitted 
to  see  it,  I  took  occasion,  in  my  very  next  com- 
munication to  Lord  Byron,  to  twit  him  a  little  with 
the  passage  in  it  relating  to  myself, — the  only  one, 
as  far  as  I  can  learn,  that  ever  fell  from  my  noble 
friend's  pen  during  our  intimacy,  in  which  he  has 
spoken  of  me  otherwise  than  in  terms  of  kindness 

VOL.  IV.  N 

178  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

and  the  most  undeserved  praise.  Transcribing  his 
own  words,  as  well  as  I  could  recollect  them,  at  the 
top  of  my  letter,  I  added,  underneath,  "  Is  this  the 
way  you  speak  of  your  friends  ?  "  Not  long  after, 
too,  when  visiting  him  at  Venice,  I  rememher  making 
the  same  harmless  little  sneer  a  subject  of  raillery 
with  him ;  but  he  declared  boldly  that  he  had  no 
recollection  of  having  ever  written  such  words,  and 
that,  if  they  existed,  "  he  must  have  been  half 
asleep  when  he  wrote  them." 

I  have  mentioned  the  circumstance  merely  for  the 
purpose  of  remarking,  that  with  a  sensibility  vul- 
nerable at  so  many  points  as  his  was,  and  acted 
upon  by  an  imagination  so  long  practised  in  self- 
tormenting,  it  is  only  wonderful  that,  thinking  con- 
stantly, as  his  letters  prove  him  to  have  been,  of 
distant  friends,  and  receiving  from  few  or  none 
equal  proofs  of  thoughtfblness  in  return,  he  should 
not  more  frequently  have  broken  out  into  such 
sallies  against  the  absent  and  "  unreplying."  For 
myself,  I  can  only  say  that,  from  the  moment  I 
began  to  unravel  his  character,  the  most  slighting 
and  even  acrimonious  expressions  that  I  could  have 
heard  he  had,  in  a  fit  of  spleen,  uttered  against  me, 
would  have  no  more  altered  my  opinion  of  his  dis- 
position, nor  disturbed  my  affection  for  him,  than 
the  momentary  clouding  over  of  a  bright  sty  could 
leave  an  impression  on  the  mind  of  gloom,  after  its 
shadow  had  passed  away. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  179 

LETTER  336.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  August  9.  1819. 

u  Talking  of  blunders  reminds  me  of  Ireland — 
Ireland  of  Moore.  What  is  this  I  see  in  Galignani 
about  '  Bermuda — agent — deputy  —  appeal  —  at- 
tachment,' &c.  ?  What  is  the  matter  ?  Is  it  any 
thing  in  which  his  friends  can  be  of  use  to  him  ? 
Pray  inform  me. 

"  Of  Don  Juan  I  hear  nothing  further  from  you  ; 

*  *  *,  but  the  papers  don't  seem  so  fierce  as  the 
letter  you  sent  me  seemed  to  anticipate,  by  their 
extracts  at  least  in  Galignani's  Messenger.     I  never 
saw  such  a  set  of  fellows  as  you  are  !    And  then  the 
pains  taken  to  exculpate  the  modest  publisher — he 
remonstrated,  forsooth  !     I  will  write  a  preface  that 
shall  exculpate  you  and  *  *  *,  &c.  completely,  on  that 
point ;  but,  at  the  same  time,  I  will  cut  you  up,  like 
gourds.     You  have  no  more  soul  than  the  Count  de 
Caylus,  (who  assured  his  friends,  on  his  death-bed, 
that  he  had  none,  and  that  he  must  know  better 
than  they  whether  he  had  one  or  no,)  and  no  more 
blood  than  a  water-melon  !     And  I  see  there  hath 
been    asterisks,    and   what   Perry   used    to    called 

*  domned  cutting  and  slashing'  —  but,  never  mind. 

"  I  write  in  haste.  To-morrow  I  set  off  for 
Bologna.  I  write  to  you  with  thunder,  lightning, 
&c.  and  all  the  winds  of  heaven  whistling  through 
my  hair,  and  the  racket  of  preparation  to  boot. 
4  My  mistress  dear,  who  hath  fed  my  heart  upon 
smiles  and  wine'  for  the  last  two  months,  set  off 
with  her  husband  for  Bologna  this  morning,  and  it 
N  2 

J80  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

seems  that  I  follow  him  at  three  to-morrow  morning. 
I  cannot  tell  how  our  romance  will  end,  but  it  hath 
gone  on  hitherto  most  erotically.  Such  perils  and 
escapes !  Juan's  are  as  child's  play  in  comparison. 
The  fools  think  that  all  my  poeshie  is  always  allusive 
to  my  own  adventures :  I  have  had  at  one  time  or 
another  better  and  more  extraordinary  and  perilous 
and  pleasant  than  these,  every  day  of  the  week,  if 
I  might  tell  them  ;  but  that  must  never  be. 
"  I  hope  Mrs.  M.  has  accouched. 

"  Yours  ever." 

LETTER  337.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Bologna,  August  12.  1819. 

"  I  do  not  know  how  far  I  may  be  able  to  reply 
to  your  letter,  for  I  am  not  very  well  to-day.  Last 
night  I  went  to  the  representation  of  Alfieri's  Mirra, 
the  two  last  acts  of  which  threw  me  into  con- 
vulsions. I  do  not  mean  by  that  word  a  lady's 
hysterics,  but  the  agony  of  reluctant  tears,  and  the 
choking  shudder,  which  I  do  not  often  undergo  for 
fiction.  This  is  but  the  second  time  for  any  thing 
under  reality :  the  first  was  on  seeing  Kean's  Sir 
Giles  Overreach.  The  worst  was,  that  the  f  Dama'  in 
whose  box  I  was,  went  off  in  the  same  way,  I  really 
believe  more  from  fright  than  any  other  sympathy 
— at  least  with  the  players :  but  she  has  been  ill,  and 
I  have  been  ill,  and  we  are  all  languid  and  pathetic 
this  morning,  with  great  expenditure  of  sal  volatile.* 
But,  to  return  to  your  letter  of  the  23d  of  July. 

*  The  "  Dama,"  in  whose  compcny  he  witnessed  this  re- 
presentation, thus  describes  its  effect  upon  him  :  —  "  The  play 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  181 

"  You  are  right,  Gifford  is  right,  Crabbe  is  right, 
Hobhouse  is  right  —  you  are  all  right,  and  I  am 
all  wrong ;  but  do,  pray,  let  me  have  that  pleasure. 
Cut  me  up  root  and  branch ;  quarter  me  in  the 
Quarterly ;  send  round  my  <  disjecti  membra  poetae,' 
like  those  of  the  Levite's  concubine ;  make  me,  if 
you  will,  a  spectacle  to  men  and  angels  ;  but  don't 
ask  me  to  alter,  for  I  won't :  —  I  am  obstinate  and 
lazy  —  and  there's  the  truth. 

"  But,  nevertheless,  I  will  answer  your  friend 
P  *  *,  who  objects  to  the  quick  succession  of  fun  and 
gravity,  as  if  in  that  case  the  gravity  did  not  (in 
intention,  at  least)  heighten  the  fun.  His  metaphor 
is,  that '  we  are  never  scorched  and  drenched  at  the 

was  that  of  Mirra ;  the  actors,  and  particularly  the  actress  who 
performed  the  part  of  Mirra,  seconded  with  much  success  the 
intentions  of  our  great  dramatist.  Lord  Byron  took  a  strong 
interest  in  the  representation,  and  it  was  evident  that  he  was 
deeply  affected.  At  length  there  came  a  point  of  the  perform- 
ance at  which  he  could  no  longer  restrain  his  emotions;  — he 
burst  into  a  flood  of  tears,  and,  his  sobs  preventing  him  from 
remaining  any  longer  in  the  box,  he  rose  and  left  the  theatre. 
—  I  saw  him  similarly  affected  another  time  during  a  repre- 
sentation of  Alfieri's  '  Philip,'  at  Ravenna."  —  "  Gli  attori,  e 
special  men  te  1'  attrice  che  rappresentava  Mirra  secondava  assai 
bene  la  mente  del  nostro  grande  tragico.  L.  B.  prece  molto 
interesse  alia  rappresentazione,  e  si  conosceva  ehe  era  molto 
commosso.  Venne  un  punto  poi  della  tragedia  in  cui  non 
pote  piii  frenare  la  sua  emozione,  —  diede  in  un  diretto  pianto 
e  i  singhiozzi  gl'  impedirono  di  piu  restare  nei  palco ;  onde 
si  levo,  e  parti  dal  teatro.  In  uno  stato  simile  lo  viddi  un 
altra  volta  a  Ravenna  ad  una  rappresentazione  del  Filippo 

N    3 

182  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

same  time.'  Blessings  on  his  experience  !  Ask  him 
these  questions  about  '  scorching  and  drenching.' 
Did  he  never  play  at  cricket,  or  walk  a  mile  in  hot 
weather  ?  Did  he  never  spill  a  dish  of  tea  over  him- 
self in  handing  the  cup  to  his  charmer,  to  the  great 
shame  of  his  nankeen  breeches  ?  Did  he  never  swim 
in  the  sea  at  noonday  with  the  sun  in  his  eyes  and 
on  his  head,  which  all  the  foam  of  ocean  could  not 
cool  ?  Did  he  never  draw  his  foot  out  of  too  hot 
water,  d — ning  his  eyes  and  his  valet's  ?  Did  he 
never  tumble  into  a  river  or  lake,  fishing,  and  sit  in 
his  wet  clothes  in  the  boat,  or  on  the  bank,  after- 
wards *  scorched  and  drenched,'  like  a  true  sports- 
man ?  '  Oh  for  breath  to  utter  ! ' —  but  make  him 
my  compliments ;  he  is  a  clever  fellow  for  all  that 
—  a  very  clever  fellow. 

"  You  ask  me  for  the  plan  of  Donny  Johnny  :  I 
have  no  plan  ;  I  had  no  plan  ;  but  I  had  or  have  ma- 
terials ;  though  if,  like  Tony  Lumpkin,  *  I  am  to  be 
snubbed  so  when  I  am  in  spirits,'  the  poem  will  be 
naught,  and  the  poet  turn  serious  again.  If  it  don't 
take,  I  will  leave  it  off  where  it  is,  with  all  due 
respect  to  the  public  ;  but  if  continued,  it  must  be 
in  my  own  way.  You  might  as  well  make  Harnlet 
(or  Diggory)  «  act  mad '  in  a  strait  waistcoat  as 
trammel  my  buffoonery,  if  I  am  to  be  a  buffoon  ; 
their  gestures  and  my  thoughts  would  only  be  piti- 
ably absurd  and  ludicrously  constrained.  Why,  man, 
the  soul  of  such  writing  is  its  licence ;  at  least 
the  liberty  of  that  licence,  if  one  likes  —  not  that  one 
should  abuse  it.  Jt  is  like  Trial  by  Jury  and  Peer- 
age and  the  Habeas  Corpus  —  a  very  fine  thing, 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  183 

but  chiefly  in  the  reversion  ;  because  no  one  wishes 
to  be  tried  for  the  mere  pleasure  of  proving  his 
possession  of  the  privilege. 

"  But  a  truce  with  these  reflections.  You  are  too 
earnest  and  eager  about  a  work  never  intended  to 
be  serious.  Do  you  suppose  that  I  could  have  any 
intention  but  to  giggle  and  make  giggle  ?  —  a  play- 
ful satire,  with  as  little  poetry  as  could  be  helped, 
was  what  I  meant.  And  as  to  the  indecency,  do, 
pray,  read  in  Boswell  what  Johnson,  the  sullen 
moralist,  says  of  Prior  and  Paulo  Purgante. 

"  Will  you  get  a  favour  done  for  me  ?  You  can, 
by  your  government  friends,  Croker,  Canning,  or 
my  old  schoolfellow  Peel,  and  I  can't.  Here  it  is. 
Will  you  ask  them  to  appoint  (without  salary  or 
emolument)  a  noble  Italian  (whom  I  will  name  after- 
wards) consul  or  vice-consul  for  Ravenna  ?  He  is  a 
man  of  very  large  property,  —  noble,  too ;  but  he 
wishes  to  have  a  British  protection,  in  case  of 
changes.  Ravenna  is  near  the  sea.  He  wants  no 
emolument  whatever.  That  his  office  might  be  use- 
ful, I  know ;  as  I  lately  sent  off  from  Ravenna  to 
Trieste  a  poor  devil  of  an  English  sailor,  who  had 
remained  there  sick,  sorry,  and  pennyless  (having 
been  set  ashore  in  1814?),  from  the  want  of  any  ac- 
credited agent  able  or  willing  to  help  him  home- 
wards. Will  you  get  this  done  ?  If  you  do,  I  will 
then  send  his  name  and  condition,  subject,  of  course, 
to  rejection,  if  not  approved  when  known. 

"  I  know  that  in  the  Levant  you  make  consuls 
and  vice-consuls,  perpetually,  of  foreigners.  This 
man  is  a  patrician,  and  has  twelve  thousand  a  year. 

184  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

His  motive  is  a  British  protection  in  case  of  new 
invasions.  Don't  you  think  Croker  would  do  it  for 
us  ?  To  be  sure,  my  interest  is  rare  ! !  but,  perhaps, 
a  brother  wit  in  the  Tory  line  might  do  a  good  turn 
at  the  request  of  so  harmless  and  long  absent  a 
Whig,  particularly  as  there  is  no  salary  or  burden  of 
any  sort  to  be  annexed  to  the  office. 

"  I  can  assure  you,  I  should  look  upon  it  as  a  great 
obligation ;  but,  alas  !  that  very  circumstance  may, 
very  probably,  operate  to  the  contrary — indeed,  it 
ought ;  but  I  have,  at  least,  been  an  honest  and  an 
open  enemy.  Amongst  your  many  splendid  govern- 
ment connections,  could  not  you,  think  you,  get  our 
Bibulus  made  a  Consul  ?  or  make  me  one,  that  I  may 
make  him  my  Vice.  You  may  be  assured  that,  in 
case  of  accidents  in  Italy,  he  would  be  no  feeble 
adjunct  —  as  you  would  think,  if  you  knew  his 

"  What  is  all  this  about  Tom  Moore  ?  but  why  do 
I  ask  ?  since  the  state  of  my  own  affairs  would  not 
permit  me  to  be  of  use  to  him,  though  they  are 
greatly  improved  since  1816,  and  may,  with  some 
more  luck  and  a  little  prudence,  become  quite  clear. 
It  seems  his  claimants  are  American  merchants? 
There  goes  Nemesis!  Moore  abused  America.  It  is 
always  thus  in  the  long  run  :  —  Time,  the  Avenger. 
You  have  seen  every  trampler  down,  in  turn,  from 
Buonaparte  to  the  simplest  individuals.  You  saw 
how  some  were  avenged  even  upon  my  insignifi- 
cance, and  how  in  turn  *  *  *  paid  for  his  atrocity. 
It  is  an  odd  world  ;  but  the  watch  has  its  mainspring, 
after  all. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  185 

"  So  the  Prince  has  been  repealing  Lord  Edward 
Fitzgerald's  forfeiture  ?  Ecco  un  sonetto  ! 

"  To  be  the  father  of  the  fatherless, 
To  stretch  the  hand  from  the  throne's  height,  and  raise 
His  offspring,  who  expired  in  other  days 
To  make  thy  sire's  sway  by  a  kingdom  less,  — 
This  is  to  be  a  monarch,  and  repress 
Envy  into  unutterable  praise. 
Dismiss  thy  guard,  and  trust  thee  to  such  traits, 
For  who  would  lift  a  hand,  except  to  bless  ? 
Were  it  not  easy,  sir,  and  is't  not  sweet 
To  make  thyself  beloved?  and  to  be 
Omnipotent  by  Mercy's  means  ?  for  thus 
Thy  sovereignty  would  grow  but  more  complete, 
A  despot  thou,  and  yet  thy  people  free, 
And  by  the  heart,  not  hand,  enslaving  us. 

"  There,  you  dogs !  there's  a  sonnet  for  you  :  you 
won't  have  such  as  that  in  a  hurry  from  Mr.  Fitz- 
gerald. You  may  publish  it  with  my  name,  an'  ye 
wool.  He  deserves  all  praise,  bad  and  good ;  it  was 
a  very  noble  piece  of  principality.  Would  you  like 
an  epigram  —  a  translation  ? 

"  If  for  silver,  or  for  gold, 

You  could  melt  ten  thousand  pimples 
Into  half  a  dozen  dimples, 
Then  your  face  we  might  behold, 

Looking,  doubtless,  much  more  snugly, 
Yet  ev'n  then  'twould  be  d — d  ugly. 

"  This  was  written  on  some  Frenchwoman,  by 
Rulhieres,  I  believe.  Yours." 

186  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

LETTER  338.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Bologna,  August  23.  1819. 

"  I  send  you  a  letter  to  R  *  *  ts,  signed  Wortley 
Clutterbuck,  which  you  may  publish  in  what  form 
you  please,  in  answer  to  his  article.  I  have  had 
many  proofs  of  men's  absurdity,  but  he  beats  all  in 
folly.  Why,  the  wolf  in  sheep's  clothing  has  tumbled 
into  the  very  trap  !  We'll  strip  him.  The  letter  is 
written  in  great  haste,  and  amidst  a  thousand  vex- 
ations. Your  letter  only  came  yesterday,  so  that 
there  is  no  time  to  polish  :  the  post  goes  out  to- 
morrow. The  date  is  «  Little  Piddlington.'  Let 
#  *  *  *  correct  the  press :  he  knows  and  can  read 
the  handwriting.  Continue  to  keep  the  anonymous 
about  'Juan;'  it  helps  us  to  fight  against  over- 
whelming numbers.  I  have  a  thousand  distractions 
at  present ;  so  excuse  haste,  and  wonder  I  can  act 
or  write  at  all.  Answer  by  post,  as  usual. 

"  Yours. 

"  P.  S.  If  I  had  had  time,  and  been  quieter  and 
nearer,  I  would  have  cut  him  to  hash ;  but  as  it  is, 
you  can  judge  for  yourselves." 

The  letter  to  the  Reviewer,  here  mentioned,  had 
its  origin  in  rather  an  amusing  circumstance.  In 
the  first  Canto  of  Don  Juan  appeared  the  following 
passage :  — 

"  For  fear  some  prudish  readers  should  grow  skittish, 
I've  bribed  My  Grandmother's  Review, — the  British  ! 

"  I  sent  it  in  a  letter  to  the  editor, 

Who  thank'd  me  duly  by  return  of  post  — 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  187 

I'm  for  a  handsome  article  his  creditor ; 

Yet  if  my  gentle  Muse  he  please  to  roast, 
And  break  a  promise  after  having  her, 

Denying  the  receipt  of  what  it  cost, 
And  smear  his  page  with  gall  instead  of  honey, 
All  I  can  say  is  —  that  he  had  the  money." 

On  the  appearance  of  the  poem,  the  learned 
editor  of  the  Review  in  question  allowed  himself  to 
be  decoyed  into  the  ineffable  absurdity  of  taking  the 
charge  as  serious,  and,  in  his  succeeding  number, 
came  forth  with  an  indignant  contradiction  of  it. 
To  this  tempting  subject  the  letter,  written  so 
hastily  off  at  Bologna,  related ;  but,  though  printed 
for  Mr.  Murray,  in  a  pamphlet  consisting  of  twenty- 
three  pages,  it  was  never  published  by  him.*  Being 
valuable,  however,  as  one  of  the  best  specimens  we 
have  of  Lord  Byron's  simple  and  thoroughly  English 
prose,  I  shall  here  preserve  some  extracts  from  it. 


"  My  dear  R ts, 

"  As  a  believer  in  the  Church  of  England  —  to 
say  nothing  of  the  State  —  I  have  been  an  occasional 
reader,  and  great  admirer,  though  not  a  subscriber, 
to  your  Review.  But  I  do  not  know  that  any  article 
of  its  contents  ever  gave  me  much  surprise  till  the 
eleventh  of  your  late  twenty-seventh  number  made 
its  appearance.  You  have  there  most  manfully  re- 
futed a  calumnious  accusation  of  bribery  and  cor- 
ruption, the  credence  of  which  in  the  public  mind 

*  It  appeared  afterwards  in  the  Liberal. 

188  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

might  not  only  have  damaged  your  reputation  as  a 
clergyman  and  an  editor,  but,  what  would  have  been 
still  worse,  have  injured  the  circulation  of  your 
journal ;  which,  I  regret  to  hear,  is  not  so  extensive 
as  the  '  purity  (as  you  well  observe)  of  its,  &c.  &c.' 
and  the  present  taste  for  propriety,  would  induce 
us  to  expect.  The  charge  itself  is  of  a  solemn  na- 
ture ;  and,  although  in  verse,  is  couched  in  terms 
of  such  circumstantial  gravity  as  to  induce  a  belief 
little  short  of  that  generally  accorded  to  the  thirty- 
nine  articles,  to  which  you  so  generously  subscribed 
on  taking  your  degrees.  It  is  a  charge  the  most 
revolting  to  the  heart  of  man  from  its  frequent 
occurrence ;  to  the  mind  of  a  statesman  from  its 
occasional  truth ;  and  to  the  soul  of  an  editor  from 
its  moral  impossibility.  You  are  charged  then  in 
the  last  line  of  one  octave  stanza,  and  the  whole 
eight  lines  of  the  next,  viz.  209th  and  210th  of  the 
first  Canto  of  that l  pestilent  poem,'  Don  Juan,  with 
receiving,  and  still  more  foolishly  acknowledging, 
the  receipt  of  certain  moneys  to  eulogise  the  un- 
known author,  who  by  this  account  must  be  known 
to  you,  if  to  nobody  else.  An  impeachment  of  this 
nature,  so  seriously  made,  there  is  but  one  way  of 
refuting  ;  and  it  is  my  firm  persuasion,  that  whether 
you  did  or  did  not  (and  /believe  that  you  did  not) 
receive  the  said  moneys,  of  which  I  wish  that  he 
had  specified  the  sum,  you  are  quite  right  in  denying 
all  knowledge  of  the  transaction.  If  charges  of  this 
nefarious  description  are  to  go  forth,  sanctioned  by 
all  the  solemnity  of  circumstance,  and  guaranteed 
by  the  veracity  of  verse  (as  Counsellor  Phillips  would 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  189 

say),  what  is  to  become  of  readers  hitherto  im- 
plicitly confident  in  the  not  less  veracious  prose  of 
our  critical  journals  ?  what  is  to  become  of  the  re- 
views ;  and,  if  the  reviews  fail,  what  is  to  become  of 
the  editors  ?  It  is  common  cause,  and  you  have  done 
well  to  sound  the  alarm.  I  myself,  in  my  humble 
sphere,  will  be  one  of  your  echoes.  In  the  words  of 
the  tragedian  Liston,  «  I  love  a  row,'  and  you  seem 
justly  determined  to  make  one. 

"  It  is  barely  possible,  certainly  improbable,  that 
the  writer  might  have  been  in  jest ;  but  this  only 
aggravates  his  crime.  A  joke,  the  proverb  says, 
4  breaks  no  bones ;'  but  it  may  break  a  bookseller,  or 
it  may  be  the  cause  of  bones  being  broken.  The 
jest  is  but  a  bad  one  at  the  best  for  the  author,  and 
might  have  been  a  still  worse  one  for  you,  if  your 
copious  contradiction  did  not  certify  to  all  whom  it 
may  concern  your  own  indignant  innocence,  and  the 
immaculate  purity  of  the  British  Review.  I  do  not 

doubt  your  word,  my  dear  R ts,  yet  I  cannot 

help  wishing  that,  in  a  case  of  such  vital  importance, 
it  had  assumed  the  more  substantial  shape  of  an 
affidavit  sworn  before  the  Lord  Mayor  Atkins,  who 
readily  receives  any  deposition ;  and  doubtless  would 
have  brought  it  in  some  way  as  evidence  of  the  de- 
signs of  the  Reformers  to  set  fire  to  London,  at  the 
same  time  that  he  himself  meditates  the  same  good 
office  towards  the  river  Thames. 

"  I  recollect  hearing,  soon  after  the  publication, 
this  subject  discussed  at  the  tea-table  of  Mr.  *  *  * 
the  poet,  —  and  Mrs.  and  the  Misses  *****  being 
in  a  corner  of  the  room  perusing  the  proof  sheets  of 

190  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

Mr.  *  *  *  's  poems,  the  male  part  of  the  conversazione 
were  at  liberty  to  make  some  observations  on  the 
poem  and  passage  in  question,  and  there  was  a 
difference  of  opinion.  Some  thought  the  allusion  was 
to  the  '  British  Critic ;'  others,  that  by  the  expres- 
sion '  My  Grandmother's  Review,'  it  was  intimated 
that  *  my  grandmother'  was  not  the  reader  of  the 
review,  but  actually  the  writer  ;  thereby  insinuating", 

my  dear  Mr.  II ts,  that  you  were  an  old  woman  ; 

because,  as  people  often  say,  '  Jeffrey's  Review,' 
'  Gifford's  Review,'  in  lieu  of  Edinburgh  and  Quar- 
terly, so  *  My  Grandmother's  Review'  and  R ts's 

might  be  also  synonymous.  Now,  whatever  colour 
this  insinuation  might  derive  from  the  circumstance 
of  your  wearing  a  gown,  as  well  as  from  your  time 
of  life,  your  general  style,  and  various  passages  of 
your  writings,  —  I  will  take  upon  myself  to  excul- 
pate you  from  all  suspicion  of  the  kind,  and  assert, 

without  calling  Mrs.  R ts  in  testimony,  that  if 

ever  you  should  be  chosen  Pope,  you  will  pass 
through  all  the  previous  ceremonies  with  as  much 
credit  as  any  pontiff  since  the  parturition  of  Joan. 
It  is  very  unfair  to  judge  of  sex  from  writings,  par- 
ticularly from  those  of  the  British  Review.  We  are 
all  liable  to  be  deceived,  and  it  is  an  indisputable  fact 
that  many  of  the  best  articles  in  your  journal,  which 
were  attributed  to  a  veteran  female,  were  actually 
written  by  you  yourself,  and  yet  to  this  day  there 
are  people  who  could  never  find  out  the  difference. 
But  let  us  return  to  the  more  immediate  question. 

"  I  agree  with  you  that  it  is  impossible  Lord  B. 
should  be  the  author,  not  only  because,  as  a  British 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  191 

peer  and  a  British  poet,  it  would  be  impracticable 
for  him  to  have  recourse  to  such  facetious  fiction,  but 
for  some  other  reasons  which  you  have  omitted  to 
state.  In  the  first  place,  his  Lordship  has  no  grand- 
mother. Now  the  author  —  and  we  may  believe  him 
in  this  — doth  expressly  state  that  th e_j  British ^Js 
his  '  Grandmother's  ReviewLil^aildJ^  as  I  think  I 
have  distinctly  proved,  this  was  not  a  mere  figur- 
ative allusion  to  your  supposed  intellectual  age 
and  sex,  my  dear  friend,  it  follows,  whether  you  be 
she  or  no,  that  there  is  such  an  elderly  lady  still 

"  Shall  I  give  you  what  I  think  a  prudent  opinion? 
I  don't  mean  to  insinuate,  God  forbid !  but  if,  by 
any  accident,  there  should  have  been  such  a  cor- 
respondence between  you  and  the  unknown  author, 
whoever  he  may  be,  send  him  back  his  money ;  I 
dare  say  he  will  be  very  glad  to  have  it  again ;  it 
can't  be  much,  considering  the  value  of  the  article 
and  the  circulation  of  the  journal ;  and  you  are  too 
modest  to  rate  your  praise  beyond  its  real  worth  : — 
don't  be  angry,  I  know  you  won't,  at  this  appraise- 
ment of  your  powers  of  eulogy  :  for  on  the  other 
hand,  my  dear  fellow,  depend  upon  it  your  abuse  is 
worth,  not  its  own  weight,  that's  a  feather,  but 
your  weight  in  gold.  So  don't  spare  it ;  if  he  has 
bargained  for  that,  give  it  handsomely,  and  depend 
upon  your  doing  him  a  friendly  office. 

"  What  the  motives  of  this  writer  may  have  been 
for  (as  you  magnificently  translate  his  quizzing  you) 
*  stating,  with  the  particularity  which  belongs  to 
fact,  the  forgery  of  a  groundless  fiction/  (do,  pray, 

192  NOTICES    OF    THE 


my  dear  R.,  talk  a  little  less  « in  King  Cambyses' 
vein/)  I  cannot  pretend  to  say ;  perhaps  to  laugh  at 
you,  but  that  is  no  reason  for  your  benevolently 
making  all  the  world  laugh  also.  I  approve  of  your 
being  angry,  I  tell  you  I  am  angry  too,  but  you 
should  not  have  shown  it  so  outrageously.  Your 
solemn  *  if  somebody  personating  the  Editor  of  the, 
&c.  &c.  has  received  from  Lord  B.  or  from  any 
other  person,'  reminds  me  of  Charley  Incledon's 
usual  exordium  when  people  came  into  the  tavern 
to  hear  him  sing  without  paying  their  share  of  the 
reckoning  —  '  if  a  maun,  or  ony  maun,  or  ony  other 
maun,'  &c.  &c. ;  you  have  both  the  same  redundant 
eloquence.  But  why  should  you  think  any  body 
would  personate  you  ?  Nobody  would  dream  of  such 
a  prank  who  ever  read  your  compositions,  and  perhaps 
not  many  who  have  heard  your  conversation.  But 
I  have  been  inoculated  with  a  little  of  your  prolixity. 

The  fact  is,  my  dear  R ts,  that  somebody  has 

tried  to  make  a  fool  of  you,  and  what  he  did  not 
succeed  in  doing,  you  have  done  for  him  and  for 

Towards  the  latter  end  of  August,  Count  Guiccioli, 
accompanied  by  his  lady,  went  for  a  short  time  to 
visit  some  of  his  Romagnese  estates,  while  Lord 
Byron  remained  at  Bologna  alone.  And  here,  with 
a  heart  softened  and  excited  by  the  new  feeling  that 
had  taken  possession  of  him,  he  appears  to  have  given 
himself  up,  during  this  interval  of  solitude,  to  a  train 
of  melancholy  and  impassioned  thought,  such  as,  for 
a  time,  brought  back  all  the  romance  of  his  youth- 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  193 

ful  days.  That  spring  of  natural  tenderness  within 
his  soul,  which  neither  the  world's  efforts  nor  his  own 
had  been  able  to  chill  or  choke  up,  was  now,  with 
something  of  its  first  freshness,  set  flowing  once  more. 
He  again  knew  what  it  was  to  love  and  be  loved,  — 
too  late,  it  is  true,  for  happiness,  and  too  wrongly 
for  peace,  but  with  devotion  enough,  on  the  part  of 
the  woman,  to  satisfy  even  his  thirst  for  affection, 
and  with  a  sad  earnestness,  on  his  own,  a  foreboding 
fidelity,  which  made  him  cling  but  the  more  passion- 
ately to  this  attachment  from  feeling  that  it  would 
be  his  last. 

A  circumstance  which  he  himself  used  to  mention 
as  having  occurred  at  this  period  will  show  how  over- 
powering, at  times,  was  the  rush  of  melancholy  over 
his  heart.  It  was  his  fancy,  during  Madame 
Guiccioli's  absence  from  Bologna,  to  go  daily  to  her 
house  at  his  usual  hour  of  visiting  her,  and  there, 
causing  her  apartments  to  be  opened,  to  sit  turning 
over  her  books,  and  writing  in  them.  *  He  would 

*  One  of  these  notes,  written  at  the  end  of  the  5th  chapter, 
18th  book  of  Corinne  ("  Fragmens  des  Pense"es  de  Corinne") 
is  as  follows  :  — 

"  I  knew  Madame  de  Stael  well,  —  better  than  she  knew 
Italy,  —  but  I  little  thought  that,  one  day,  I  should  think  ivith 
her  thoughts,  in  the  country  where  she  has  laid  the  scene  of  her 
most  attractive  productions.  She  is  sometimes  right,  and  often 
wrong,  about  Italy  and  England ;  but  almost  always  true  in 
delineating  the  heart,  which  is  of  but  one  nation,  and  of  no 
country,  —  or,  rather,  of  all. 

"  BYRON. 
"  Bologna,  August  23.  1819." 

VOL.  IV.  O 

194?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

then  descend  into  her  garden,  where  he  passed  hours 
in  musing ;  and  it  was  on  an  occasion  of  this  kind, 
as  he  stood  looking,  in  a  state  of  unconscious  reverie, 
into  one  of  those  fountains  so  common  in  the  gardens 
of  Italy,  that  there  came  suddenly  into  his  mind  such 
desolate  fancies,  such  bodings  of  the  misery  he  might 
bring  on  her  he  loved,  by  that  doom  which  (as  he 
has  himself  written)  "makes  it  fatal  to  be  loved*," 
that,  overwhelmed  with  his  own  thoughts,  he  burst 
into  an  agony  of  tears. 

During  the  same  few  days  it  was  that  he  wrote  in 
the  last  page  of  Madame  Guiccioli's  copy  of 
"  Corinne  "  the  following  remarkable  note  :  — 

"  My  dearest  Teresa,  —  I  have  read  this  book  in 
your  garden  ;  —  my  love,  you  were  absent,  or  else  I 
could  not  have  read  it.  It  is  a  favourite  book  of 
yours,  and  the  writer  was  a  friend  of  mine.  You 
will  not  understand  these  English  words,  and  others 
will  not  understand  them  —  which  is  the  reason  I 
have  not  scrawled  them  in  Italian.  But  you  will 
recognise  the  hand-writing  of  him  who  passionately 
loved  you,  and  you  will  divine  that,  over  a  book 
which  was  yours,  he  could  only  think  of  love.  In 

*  "  Oh  Love !  what  is  it,  in  this  world  of  ours, 

Which  makes  it  fatal  to  be  loved?  ah!  why 
With  cypress  branches  hast  thou  wreath'd  thy  bowers, 

And  made  thy  best  interpreter  a  sigh? 
As  those  who  dote  on  odours  pluck  the  flowers, 

And  place  them  on  their  breasts — but  place  to  die — 
Thus  the  frail  beings  we  would  fondly  cherish 
•    Are  laid  within  our  bosoms  but  to  perish." 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  195 

that  word,  beautiful  in  all  languages,  but  most  so  in 
yours  —  Amor  mio  —  is  comprised  my  existence 
here  and  hereafter.  I  feel  I  exist  here,  and  I  fear 
that  I  shall  exist  hereafter,  —  to  what  purpose  you 
will  decide  ;  my  destiny  rests  with  you,  and  you  are 
a  woman,  seventeen  years  of  age,  and  two  out  of  a 
convent.  I  wish  that  you  had  stayed  there,  with  all 
my  heart,  —  or,  at  least,  that  I  had  never  met  you 
in  your  married  state. 

"  But  all  this  is  too  late.  I  love  you,  and  you 
love  me, — at  least,  you  say  so,  and  act  as  if  you  did 
so,  which  last  is  a  great  consolation  in  all  events. 
But  /more  than  love  you,  and  cannot  cease  to  love 

"  Think  of  me,  sometimes,  when  the  Alps  and  the 
ocean  divide  us,  —  but  they  never  will,  unless  you 
wish  it.  BYRON. 

"  Bologna,  August  25.  1819." 

LETTER  339.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Bologna,  August  24.  1819. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  by  last  post,  enclosing  a  buffoon- 
ing letter  for  publication,  addressed  to  the  buffoon 

R ts,  who  has  thought  proper  to  tie  a  canister  to 

his  own  tail.  It  was  written  off-hand,  and  in  the 
midst  of  circumstances  not  very  favourable  to  face- 
tiousness,  so  that  there  may,  perhaps,  be  more  bit- 
terness than  enough  for  that  sort  of  small  acid  punch: 
—  you  will  tell  me. 

"  Keep  the  anonymous,  in  any  case :  it  helps  what 
fun  there  may  be.     But  if  the  matter  grow  serious 
o  2 

196  NOTICES   OF    THE  1819. 

about  Don  Juan,  and  you  feel  yourself  in  a  scrape, 
or  me  either,  own  that! am  the  author,  /will  never 
shrink ;  and  if  you  do,  I  can  always  answer  you  in 
the  question  of  Guatimozin  to  his  minister  —  each 
being  on  his  own  coals.* 

"  I  wish  that  I  had  been  in  better  spirits ;  but  I 
am  out  of  sorts,  out  of  nerves,  and  now  and  then  (I 
begin  to  fear)  out  of  my  senses.  All  this  Italy  has 
done  for  me,  and  not  England :  I  defy  all  you,  and 
your  climate  to  boot,  to  make  me  mad.  But  if  ever 
I  do  really  become  a  bedlamite,  and  wear  a  strait 
waistcoat,  let  me  be  brought  back  among  you  ;  your 
people  will  then  be  proper  company. 

"  I  assure  you  what  I  here  say  and  feel  has  nothing 
to  do  with  England,  either  in  a  literary  or  personal 
point  of  view.  All  my  present  pleasures  or  plagues 
are  as  Italian  as  the  opera.  And  after  all,  they  are 
but  trifles;  for  all  this  arises  from  my  '  Dama's1 
being  in  the  country  for  three  days  (at  Capo-flume). 
But  as  I  could  never  live  but  for  one  human  being 
at  a  time,  (and,  I  assure  you,  that  one  has  never  been 
myself,  as  you  may  know  by  the  consequences,  for 
the  selfish  are  successful  in  life,)  I  feel  alone  and 

I  have  sent  for  my  daughter  from  Venice,  and  I 
ride  daily,  and  walk  in  a  garden,  under  a  purple 
canopy  of  grapes,  and  sit  by  a  fountain,  and  talk  with 
the  gardener  of  his  tools,  which  seem  greater  than 
Adam's,  and  with  his  wife,  and  with  his  son's  wife, 
who  is  the  youngest  of  the  party,  and,  I  think,  talks 

*  "  Am  I  now  reposing  on  a  bed  of  flowers  ?  " 


1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  197 

best  of  the  three.  Then  I  revisit  the  Campo  Santo, 
and  my  old  friend,  the  sexton,  has  two — but  one  the 
prettiest  daughter  imaginable  ;  and  I  amuse  myself 
with  contrasting  her  beautiful  and  innocent  face  of 
fifteen  with  the  skulls  with  which  he  has  peopled 
several  cells,  and  particularly  with  that  of  one  skull 
dated  1766,  which  was  once  covered  (the  tradition 
goes)  by  the  most  lovely  features  of  Bologna — noble 
and  rich.  When  I  look  at  these,  and  at  this  girl  — 
when  I  think  of  what  they  ivere,  and  what  she  must 
be — why,  then,  my  dear  Murray,  I  won't  shock  you 
by  saying  what  I  think.  It  is  little  matter  what 
becomes  of  us  '  bearded  men,'  but  I  don't  like  the 
notion  of  a  beautiful  woman's  lasting  less  than  a 
beautiful  tree  —  than  her  own  picture  —  her  own 
shadow,  which  won't  change  so  to  the  sun  as  her 
face  to  the  mirror.  I  must  leave  off,  for  my  head 
aches  consumedly.  I  have  never  been  quite  well 
since  the  night  of  the  representation  of  Alfieri's 
Mirra,  a  fortnight  ago.  Yours  ever." 

LETTER  340.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Bologna,  August  29.  1819. 

"  I  have  been  in  a  rage  these  two  days,  and  am 
still  bilious  therefrom.  You  shall  hear.  A  captain 
of  dragoons,  *  *,  Hanoverian  by  birth,  in  the  Papal 
troops  at  present,  whom  I  had  obliged  by  a  loan  when 
nobody  would  lend  him  a  paul,  recommended  a  horse 
to  me,  on  sale  by  a  Lieutenant  *  *,  an  officer  who 
unites  the  sale  of  cattle  to  the  purchase  of  men.  I 
bought  it.  The  next  day,  on  shoeing  the  horse,  we 
o  3 

198  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

discovered  the  thrush,  —  the  animal  being  warranted 
sound.  I  sent  to  reclaim  the  contract  and  the  money. 
The  lieutenant  desired  to  speak  with  me  in  person. 
I  consented.  He  came.  It  was  his  own  particular 
request.  He  began  a  story.  I  asked  him  if  he 
would  return  the  money.  He  said  no  —  but  he 
would  exchange.  He  asked  an  exorbitant  price  for 
his  other  horses.  I  told  him  that  he  was  a  thief. 
He  said  he  was  an  officer  and  a  man  of  honour,  and 
pulled  out  a  Parmesan  passport  signed  by  General 
Count  Neifperg.  I  answered,  that  as  he  was  an 
officer,  I  would  treat  him  as  such ;  and  that  as  to  his 
being  a  gentleman,  he  might  prove  it  by  returning 
the  money :  as  for  his  Parmesan  passport,  I  should 
have  valued  it  more  if  it  had  been  a  Parmesan 
cheese.  He  answered  in  high  terms,  and  said  that 
if  it  were  the  morning  (it  was  about  eight  o'clock  in 
the  evening)  he  would  have  satisfaction.  I  then  lost 
my  temper:  'As  for  THAT,'  I  replied,  'you  shall 
have  it  directly,  —  it  will  be  mutual  satisfaction,  I 
can  assure  you.  You  are  a  thief,  and,  as  you  say,  an 
officer ;  my  pistols  are  in  the  next  room  loaded  ;  take 
one  of  the  candles,  examine,  and  make  your  choice 
of  weapons.'  He  replied,  that  pistols  were  English 
weapons ;  he  always  fought  with  the  sword.  I  told 
him  that  I  was  able  to  accommodate  him,  having 
three  regimental  swords  in  a  drawer  near  us  :  and  he 
might  take  the  longest  and  put  himself  on  guard. 

"  All  this  passed  in  presence  of  a  third  person. 
He  then  said  No;  but  to-morrow  morning  he  would 
give  me  the  meeting  at  any  time  or  place.  I 
answered  that  it  was  not  usual  to  appoint  meetings 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  199 

in  the  presence  of  witnesses,  and  that  we  had  best 
speak  man  to  man,  and  appoint  time  and  instruments. 
But  as  the  man  present  was  leaving  the  room,  the 
Lieutenant  *  *,  before  he  could  shut  the  door  after 
him,  ran  out  roaring  *  Help  and  murder'  most  lustily, 
and  fell  into  a  sort  of  hysteric  in  the  arms  of  about 
fifty  people,  who  all  saw  that  I  had  no  weapon  of 
any  sort  or  kind  about  me,  and  followed  him,  asking 
him  what  the  devil  was  the  matter  with  him.  Nothing 
would  do :  he  ran  away  without  his  hat,  and  went  to 
bed,  ill  of  the  fright.  He  then  tried  his  complaint  at 
the  police,  which  dismissed  it  as  frivolous.  He  is,  I 
believe,  gone  away,  or  going. 

"  The  horse  was  warranted,  but,  I  believe,  so 
worded  that  the  villain  will  not  be  obliged  to 
refund,  according  to  law.  He  endeavoured  to  raise 
up  an  indictment  of  assault  and  battery,  but  as  it 
was  in  a  public  inn,  in  a  frequented  street,  there 
were  too  many  witnesses  to  the  contrary ;  and,  as  a 
military  man,  he  has  not  cut  a  martial  figure,  even 
in  the  opinion  of  the  priests.  He  ran  off  in  such  a 
hurry  that  he  left  his  hat,  and  never  missed  it  till  he 
got  to  his  hostel  or  inn.  The  facts  are  as  I  tell  you, 
I  can  assure  you.  He  began  by  t  coming  Captain 
Grand  over  me,'  or  I  should  never  have  thought  of 
trying  his  «  cunning  in  fence.'  But  what  could  I 
do  ?  He  talked  of '  honour,  and  satisfaction,  and  his 
commission  ;'  he  produced  a  military  passport;  there 
are  severe  punishments  for  regular  duels  on  the  Con- 
tinent, and  trifling  ones  for  rencontres,  so  that  it  is 
best  to  fight  it  out  directly ;  he  had  robbed,  and  then 
wanted  to  insult  me ;  — what  could  I  do  ?  My  patience 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  201 

fifteenth  of  September:  we  visited  the  Euganean 
Hills  and  Arqua,  and  wrote  our  names  in  the  book 
which  is  presented  to  those  who  make  this  pilgrim- 
age. But  I  cannot  linger  over  these  recollections 
of  happiness ;  —  the  contrast  with  the  present  is  too 
dreadfuL  If  a  blessed  spirit,  while  in  the  full 
enjoyment  of  heavenly  happiness,  were  sent  down 
to  this  earth  to  suffer  all  its  miseries,  the  contrast 
could  not  be  more  dreadful  between  the  past  and 
the  present,  than  what  I  have  endured  from  the 
moment  when  that  terrible  word  reached  my  ears, 
and  I  for  ever  lost  the  hope  of  again  beholding  him, 
one  look  from  whom  I  valued  beyond  earth's  all 
happiness.  When  I  arrived  at  Venice,  the  phy- 
sicians ordered  that  I  should  try  the  country  air, 
and  Lord  Byron,  having  a  villa  at  La  Mira,  gave  it 
up  to  me,  and  came  to  reside  there  with  me.  At 
this  place  we  passed  the  autumn,  and  there  I  had 
the  pleasure  of  forming  your  acquaintance. "  * 

*  "  II  Conte  Guiccioli  doveva  per  affari  ritornare  a  Ra- 
venna ;  lo  stato  della  mia  salute  esiggeva  che  io  ritornassi  in 
vece  a  Venezia.  Egli  acconsenti  dunque  che  Lord  Byron, 
mi  fosse  compagno  di  viaggio.  Partimmo  da  Bologna  alii  15 
di  Sre.  —  visitammo  insieme  i  Colli  Euganei  ed  Arqua ;  scri- 
vemmo  i  nostri  nomi  nel  libro  che  si  presenta  a  quelli  che 
fanno  quel  pellegrinaggio.  Ma  sopra  tali  rimembranze  di  felicita 
non  posso  fermarmi,  caro  Signr.  Moore;  1'opposizione  col 
presente  6  troppo  forte,  e  se  un  anima  benedetta  nel  pieno 
godimento  di  tutte  le  felicita  celesti  fosse  mandata  quaggiu 
e  condannata  a  sopportare  tutte  le  miserie  della  nostra  terra 
non  potrebbe  sentire  piti  terribile  contrasto  fra  il  passato  ed  il 
presente  di  quello  che  io  sento  dacche  quella  terribile  parola  e" 
giunta  alle  mie  orecchie,  dacche  ho  perduto  la  speranza  di  piu 

202  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819* 

It  was  my  good  fortune,  at  this  period,  in  the 
course  of  a  short  and  hasty  tour  through  the  north 
of  Italy,  to  pass  five  or  six  days  with  Lord  Byron  at 
Venice.  I  had  written  to  him  on  my  way  thither 
to  announce  my  coming,  and  to  say  how  happy  it 
would  make  me  could  I  tempt  him  to  accompany 
me  as  far  as  Rome. 

During  my  stay  at  Geneva,  an  opportunity  had 
been  afforded  me  of  observing  the  exceeding  readi- 
ness with  which  even  persons  the  least  disposed  to 
be  prejudiced  gave  an  ear  to  any  story  relating  to 
Lord  Byron,  in  which  the  proper  portions  of  odium 
and  romance  were  but  plausibly  mingled.  In  the 
course  of  conversation,  one  day,  with  the  late 
amiable  and  enlightened  Monsieur  D  *  *,  that  gen- 
tleman related,  with  much  feeling,  to  my  fellow- 
traveller  and  myself,  the  details  of  a  late  act  of 
seduction  of  which  Lord  Byron  had,  he  said,  been 
guilty,  and  which  was  made  to  comprise  within 
itself  all  the  worst  features  of  such  unmanly  frauds 
upon  innocence; — the  victim,  a  young  unmarried 
lady,  of  one  of  the  first  families  of  Venice,  whom 
the  noble  seducer  had  lured  from  her  father's  house 
to  his  own,  and,  after  a  few  weeks,  most  inhumanly 
turned  her  out  of  doors.  In  vain,  said  the  relator, 
did  she  entreat  to  become  his  servant,  his  slave ; — 

vedere  quello  di  cui  uno  sguardo  valeva  per  me  piu  di  tutte  le 
felicita  della  terra.  Giunti  a  Venezia  i  medici  mi  ordinarono 
di  respirare  1'aria  della  campagna.  Egli  aveva  una  villa  alia 
Mira,  —  la  cedesse  a  me,  e  venne  meco.  La  passainmo  1'autun- 
no,  e  la  ebbi  il  bene  di  fare  la  vostra  conoscenza."  —  MS. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  203 

in  vain  did  she  ask  to  remain  in  some  dark  corner 
of  his  mansion,  from  which  she  might  be  able  to 
catch  a  glimpse  of  his  form  as  he  passed.  Her 
betrayer  was  obdurate,  and  the  unfortunate  young 
lady,  in  despair  at  being  thus  abandoned  by  him, 
threw  herself  into  the  canal,  from  which  she  was 
taken  out  but  to  be  consigned  to  a  mad-house. 
Though  convinced  that  there  must  be  considerable 
exaggeration  in  this  story,  it  was  only  on  my  arrival 
at  Venice  I  ascertained  that  the  whole  was  a  romance ; 
and  that  out  of  the  circumstances  (already  laid  before 
the  reader)  connected  with  Lord  Byron's  fantastic 
and,  it  must  be  owned,  discreditable  fancy  for  the 
Fornarina,  this  pathetic  tale,  so  implicitly  believed 
at  Geneva,  was  fabricated. 

Having  parted  at  Milan,  with  Lord  John  Russell, 
whom  I  had  accompanied  from  England,  and  whom 
I  was  to  rejoin,  after  a  short  visit  to  Rome,  at 
Genoa,  I  made  purchase  of  a  small  and  (as  it  soon 
proved)  crazy  travelling  carriage,  and  proceeded 
alone  on  my  way  to  Venice.  My  time  being  limited, 
I  stopped  no  longer  at  the  intervening  places  than 
was  sufficient  to  hurry  over  their  respective  wonders, 
and,  leaving  Padua  at  noon  on  the  8th  of  October,  I 
found  myself,  about  two  o'clock,  at  the  door  of  my 
friend's  villa,  at  La  Mira.  He  was  but  just  up,  and 
in  his  bath ;  but  the  servant  having  announced  my 
arrival,  he  returned  a  message  that,  if  I  would  wait 
till  he  was  dressed,  he  would  accompany  me  to 
Venice.  The  interval  I  employed  in  conversing  with 
my  old  acquaintance,  Fletcher,  and  in  viewing,  under 
his  guidance,  some  of  the  apartments  of  the  villa. 

204-  NOTICES    OF    THE 


It  was  not  long  before  Lord  Byron  himself  made 
his  appearance;  and  the  delight  I  felt  in  meeting 
him  once  more,  after  a  separation  of  so  many  years, 
was  not  a  little  heightened  by  observing  that  his 
pleasure  was,  to  the  full,  as  great,  while  it  was 
rendered  doubly  touching  by  the  evident  rarity  of 
such  meetings  to  him  of  late,  and  the  frank  outbreak 
of  cordiality  and  gaiety  with  which  he  gave  way  to 
his  feelings.  It  would  be  impossible,  indeed,  to 
convey  to  those  who  have  not,  at  some  time  or 
other,  felt  the  charm  of  his  manner,  any  idea  of 
what  it  could  be  when  under  the  influence  of  such 
pleasurable  excitement  as  it  was  most  flatteringly 
evident  he  experienced  at  this  moment. 

I  was  a  good  deal  struck,  however,  by  the  altera- 
tion that  had  taken  place  in  his  personal  appearance. 
He  had  grown  fatter  both  in  person  and  face,  and 
the  latter  had  most  suffered  by  the  change, — having 
lost,  by  the  enlargement  of  the  features,  some  of  that 
refined  and  spiritualised  look  that  had,  in  other  times, 
distinguished  it.  The  addition  of  whiskers,  too, 
which  he  had  not  long  before  been  induced  to  adopt, 
from  hearing  that  some  one  had  said  he  had  a  "  faccia 
di  musico,"  as  well  as  the  length  to  which  his  hair 
grew  down  on  his  neck,  and  the  rather  foreign  air  of 
his  coat  and  cap, — all  combined  to  produce  that 
dissimilarity  to  his  former  self  I  had  observed  in 
him.  He  was  still,  however,  eminently  handsome : 
and,  in  exchange  for  whatever  his  features  might 
have  lost  of  their  high,  romantic  character,  they  had 
become  more  fitted  for  the  expression  of  that  arch, 
waggish  wisdom,  that  Epicurean  play  of  humour, 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  205 

which  he  had  shown  to  be  equally  inherent  in  his 
various  and  prodigally  gifted  nature ;  while,  by  the 
somewhat  increased  roundness  of  the  contours,  the 
resemblance  of  his  finely  formed  mouth  and  chin  to 
those  of  the  Belvedere  Apollo  had  become  still 
more  striking, 

His  breakfast,  which  I  found  he  rarely  took  before 
three  or  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  was  speedily 
despatched, — his  habit  being  to  eat  it  standing,  and 
the  meal  in  general  consisting  of  one  or  two  raw  eggs, 
a  cup  of  tea  without  either  milk  or  sugar,  and  a  bit 
of  dry  biscuit.  Before  we  took  our  departure,  he 
presented  me  to  the  Countess  Guiccioli,  who  was  at 
this  time,  as  my  readers  already  know,  living  under 
the  same  roof  with  him  at  La  Mira ;  and  who,  with 
a  style  of  beauty  singular  in  an  Italian,  as  being 
fair-complexioned  and  delicate,  left  an  impression 
upon  my  mind,  during  this  our  first  short  interview, 
of  intelligence  and  amiableness  such  as  all  that  I  have 
since  known  or  heard  of  her  has  but  served  to  confirm. 

We  now  started  together,  Lord  Byron  and  myself, 
in  my  little  Milanese  vehicle,  for  Fusina,  —  his 
portly  gondolier  Tita,  in  a  rich  livery  and  most  re- 
dundant mustachios,  having  seated  himself  on  the 
front  of  the  carriage,  to  the  no  small  trial  of  its 
strength,  which  had  already  once  given  way,  even 
under  my  own  weight,  between  Verona  and  Vicenza. 
On  our  arrival  at  Fusina,  my  noble  friend,  from  his 
familiarity  with  all  the  details  of  the  place,  had  it  in 
his  power  to  save  me  both  trouble  and  expense  in 
the  different  arrangements  relative  to  the  custom- 
house, remise,  &c. ;  and  the  good-natured  assiduity 

206  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

with  which  he  bustled  about  in  despatching  these 
matters,  gave  me  an  opportunity  of  observing,  in  his 
use  of  the  infirm  limb,  a  much  greater  degree  of 
activity  than  I  had  ever  before,  except  in  sparring, 

As  we  proceeded  across  the  Lagoon  in  his  gon- 
dola, the  sun  was  just  setting,  and  it  was  an  evening 
such  as  Romance  would  have  chosen  for  a  first  sight 
of  Venice,  rising  "  with  her  tiara  of  bright  towers" 
above  the  wave ;  while,  to  complete,  as  might  be 
imagined,  the  solemn  interest  of  the  scene,  I  beheld 
it  in  company  with  him  who  had  lately  given  a  new 
life  to  its  glories,  and  sung  of  that  fair  City  of  the 
Sea  thus  grandly :  — 

"  I  stood  in  Venice  on  the  Bridge  of  Sighs ; 
A  palace  and  a  prison  on  each  hand : 
I  saw  from  out  the  wave  her  structures  rise 
As  from  the  stroke  of  the  enchanter's  wand  : 
A  thousand  years  their  cloudy  wings  expand 
Around  me,  and  a  dying  glory  smiles 
O'er  the  far  times,  when  many  a  subject  land 
Look'd  to  the  winged  lion's  marble  piles, 

Where  Venice  sat  in  state,  throned  in  her  hundred  isles." 

But,  whatever  emotions  the  first  sight  of  such  a 
scene  might,  under  other  circumstances,  have  in- 
spired me  with,  the  mood  of  mind  in  which  I  now 
viewed  it  was  altogether  the  very  reverse  of  what 
might  have  been  expected.  The  exuberant  gaiety  of 
my  companion,  and  the  recollections, — any  thing  but 
romantic,  —  into  which  our  conversation  wandered, 
put  at  once  completely  to  flight  all  poetical  and  his- 
torical associations ;  and  our  course  was,  I  am  almost 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  207 

ashamed  to  say,  one  of  uninterrupted  merriment  and 
laughter  till  we  found  ourselves  at  the  steps  of  my 
friend's  palazzo  on  the  Grand  Canal.  All  that  had 
ever  happened,  of  gay  or  ridiculous,  during  our 
London  life  together, — his  scrapes  and  mylectur- 
ings,  —  our  joint  adventures  with  the  Bores  and 
Blues,  the  two  great  enemies,  as  he  always  called 
them,  of  London  happiness,  — our  joyous  nights  to- 
gether at  Watier's,  Kinnaird's,  &c.  and  "  that  d — d 
supper  of  Rancliffe's  which  ought  to  have  been  a 
dinner,"  —  all  was  passed  rapidly  in  review  between 
us,  and  with  a  flow  of  humour  and  hilarity,  on  his 
side,  of  which  it  would  have  been  difficult,  even  for 
persons  far  graver  than  I  can  pretend  to  be,  not  to 
have  caught  the  contagion. 

He  had  all  along  expressed  his  determination  that 
I  should  not  go  to  any  hotel,  but  fix  my  quarters  at 
his  house  during  the  period  of  my  stay ;  and,  had  he 
been  residing  there  himself,  such  an  arrangement 
would  have  been  all  that  I  most  desired.  But,  this 
not  being  the  case,  a  common  hotel  was,  I  thought, 
a  far  readier  resource ;  and  I  therefore  entreated 
that  he  would  allow  me  to  order  an  apartment  at  the 
Gran  Bretagna,  which  had  the  reputation,  I  under- 
stood, of  being  a  comfortable  hotel.  This,  however,  he 
would  not  hear  of;  and,  as  an  inducement  for  me  to 
agree  to  his  plan,  said  that,  as  long  as  I  chose  to  stay, 
though  he  should  be  obliged  to  return  to  La  Mira  in 
the  evenings,  he  would  make  it  a  point  to  come  to 
Venice  every  day  and  dine  with  me.  As  we  now 
turned  into  the  dismal  canal,  and  stopped  before  his 
damp-looking  mansion,  my  predilection  for  the  Gran 

208  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

Bretagna  returned  in  full  force ;  and  I  again  ven- 
tured to  hint  that  it  would  save  an  abundance  of 
trouble  to  let  me  proceed  thither.  But  "  No — no," 
he  answered,  —  "I  see  you  think  you'll  be  very  un- 
comfortable here  ;  but  you'll  find  that  it  is  not  quite 
so  bad  as  you  expect." 

As  I  groped  my  way  after  him  through  the  dark 
hall,  he  cried  out,  "  Keep  clear  of  the  dog;"  arid 
before  we  had  proceeded  many  paces  farther,  "  Take 
care,  or  that  monkey  will  fly  at  you;" — a  curious 
proof,  among  many  others,  of  his  fidelity  to  all  the 
tastes  of  his  youth,  as  it  agrees  perfectly  with  the 
description  of  his  life  at  Newstead,  in  1809,  and  of 
the  sort  of  menagerie  which  his  visiters  had  then  to 
encounter  in  their  progress  through  his  hall.  Having 
escaped  these  dangers,  I  followed  him  up  the  staircase 
to  the  apartment  destined  for  me.  All  this  time  he 
had  been  despatching  servants  in  various  directions, 
—  one,  to  procure  me  a  laquais  de  place  ;  another  to 
go  in  quest  of  Mr.  Alexander  Scott,  to  whom  he 
wished  to  give  me  in  charge ;  while  a  third  was  sent 
to  order  his  Segretario  to  come  to  him.  "  So,  then, 
you  keep  a  Secretary  ?  "  I  said.  "  Yes,"  he  answer- 
ed, "  a  fellow  who  cant  write*  —  but  such  are  the 
names  these  pompous  people  give  to  things." 

When  we  had  reached  the  door  of  the  apartment 
it  was  discovered  to  be  locked,  and,  to  all  appear- 
ance, had  been  so  for  some  time,  as  the  key  could 
not  be  found;  —  a  circumstance  which,  to  my 

*  The  title  of  Segretario  is  sometimes  given,  as  in  this 
to  a  head-servant  or  house-steward. 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  209 

English  apprehension,  naturally  connected  itself 
with  notions  of  damp  and  desolation,  and  I  again 
sighed  inwardly  for  the  Gran  Bretagna.  Impatient 
at  the  delay  of  the  key,  my  noble  host,  with  one  of 
his  humorous  maledictions,  gave  a  vigorous  kick  to 
the  door  and  burst  it  open ;  on  which  we  at  once 
entered  into  an  apartment  not  only  spacious  and 
elegant,  but  wearing  an  aspect  of  comfort  and  habit- 
ableness  which  to  a  traveller's  eye  is  as  welcome  as  it 
is  rare.  "  Here,"  he  said,  in  a  voice  whose  every  tone 
spoke  kindness  and  hospitality,  — "  these  are  the 
rooms  I  use  myself,  and  here  I  mean  to  establish 

He  had  ordered  dinner  from  some  Tratteria,  and 
while  waiting  its  arrival  —  as  well  as  that  of  Mr. 
Alexander  Scott,  whom  he  had  invited  to  join  us  — 
we  stood  out  on  the  balcony,  in  order  that,  before 
the  daylight  was  quite  gone,  I  might  have  some 
glimpses  of  the  scene  which  the  Canal  presented. 
Happening  to  remark,  in  looking  up  at  the  clouds, 
which  were  still  bright  in  the  west,  that  "  what  had 
struck  me  in  Italian  sunsets  was  that  peculiar  rosy 

hue "     I   had    hardly   pronounced   the   word 

«  rosy,"  when  Lord  Byron,  clapping  his  hand  on  my 
mouth,  said,  with  a  laugh,  "  Come,  d — n  it,  Tom, 
don't  be  poetical."  Among  the  few  gondolas  passing 
at  the  time,  there  was  one  at  some  distance,  in 
which  sat  two  gentlemen,  who  had  the  appearance 
of  being  English;  and,  observing  them  to  look  our 
way,  Lord  Byron  putting  his  arms  a-kimbo,  said 
with  a  sort  of  comic  swagger,  "  Ah !  if  you,  John 

VOL.  IV,  p 

210  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

Bulls,  knew  who  the  two  fellows  are,  now  standing 
up  here,  I  think  you  would  stare  !  "  —  I  risk  men- 
tioning these  things,  though  aware  how  they  may 
be  turned  against  myself,  for  the  sake  of  the  other- 
wise indescribable  traits  of  manner  and  character 
which  they  convey.  After  a  very  agreeable  dinner, 
through  which  the  jest,  the  story,  and  the  laugh 
were  almost  uninterruptedly  carried  on,  our  noble 
host  took  leave  of  us  to  return  to  La  Mira,  while 
Mr.  Scott  and  I  went  to  one  of  the  theatres,  to  see 
the  Ottavia  of  Alfieri. 

The  ensuing  evenings,  during  my  stay,  were  pass- 
ed much  in  the  same  manner,  —  my  mornings  being 
devoted,  under  the  kind  superintendence  of  Mr. 
Scott,  to  a  hasty,  and,  I  fear,  unprofitable  view  of 
the  treasures  of  art  with  which  Venice  abounds.  On 
the  subjects  of  painting  and  sculpture  Lord  Byron 
has,  in  several  of  his  letters,  expressed  strongly  and, 
as  to  most  persons  will  appear,  heretically  his 
opinions.  In  his  want,  however,  of  a  due  appreci- 
ation of  these  arts,  he  but  resembled  some  of  his 
great  precursors  in  the  field  of  poetry ;  —  both 
Tasso  and  Milton,  for  example,  having  evinced  so 
little  tendency  to  such  tastes*,  that,  throughout  the 

*  That  this  was  the  case  with  Milton  is  acknowledged  by 
Richardson,  who  admired  both  Milton  and  the  Arts  too 
warmly  to  make  such  an  admission  upon  any  but  valid 
grounds.  "  He  does  not  appear,"  says  this  writer,  "  to  have 
much  regarded  what  was  done  with  the  pencil ;  no,  not  even 
when  in  Italy,  in  Rome,  in  the  Vatican.  Neither  does  it 
seem  Sculpture  was  much  esteemed  by  him."  After  an  autho- 
rity like  this,  the  theories  of.  Hayley  and  others,  with  respect 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  211 

whole  of  their  pages,  there  is  not,  I  fear,  one  single 
allusion  to  any  of  those  great  masters  of  the  pencil 
and  chisel,  whose  works,  nevertheless,  both  had 
seen.  That  Lord  Byron,  though  despising  the  im- 
posture and  jargon  with  which  the  worship  of  the 
Arts  is,  like  other  worships,  clogged  and  mystified, 
felt  deeply,  more  especially  in  sculpture,  whatever 
imaged  forth  true  grace  and  energy,  appears  from 
passages  of  his  poetry,  which  are  in  every  body's 
memory,  and  not  a  line  of  which  but  thrills  alive 
with  a  sense  of  grandeur  and  beauty  such  as  it 
never  entered  into  the  capacity  of  a  mere  connois- 
seur even  to  conceive. 

In  reference  to  this  subject,  as  we  were  convers- 
ing one  day  after  dinner  about  the  various  collec- 
tions I  had  visited  that  morning,  on  my  saying  that 
fearful  as  I  was,  at  all  times,  of  praising  any  picture, 
lest  I  should  draw  upon  myself  the  connoisseur's 
sneer  for  my  pains,  I  would  yet,  to  him,  venture  to 

own  that  I  had  seen  a  picture  at  Milan  which 

"  The  Hagar !  "  he  exclaimed,  eagerly  interrupting 
me ;  and  it  was  in  fact  this  very  picture  I  was 
about  to  mention  as  having  wakened  in  me,  by 
the  truth  of  its  expression,  more  real  emotion  than 

to  the  impressions  left  upon  Milton's  mind  by  the  works  of 
art  he  had  seen  in  Italy,  are  hardly  worth  a  thought. 

Though  it  may  be  conceded  that  Dante  was  an  admirer  of 
the  Arts,  his  recommendation  of  the  Apocalypse  to  Giotto,  as 
a  source  of  subjects  for  the  pencil,  shows,  at  least,  what  indif- 
ferent judges  poets  are,  in  general,  of  the  sort  of  fancies  fittest 
to  be  embodied  by  the  painter. 

P  2 

NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

any  I  had  yet  seen  among  the  chefs-d'oeuvre  of 
Venice.  It  was  with  no  small  degree  of  pride  and 
pleasure  I  now  discovered  that  my  noble  friend  had 
felt  equally  with  myself  the  affecting  mixture  of  sor- 
row and  reproach  with  which  the  woman's  eyes  tell 
the  whole  story  in  that  picture. 

On  the  second  evening  of  my  stay,  Lord  Byron 
having,  as  before,  left  us  for  La  Mira,  I  most  will- 
ingly accepted  the  offer  of  Mr.  Scott  to  introduce 
me  to  the  conversazioni  of  the  two  celebrated  ladies, 
with  whose  names,  as  leaders  of  Venetian  fashion, 
the  tourists  to  Italy  have  made  every  body  acquaint- 
ed. To  the  Countess  A  *  *'s  parties  Lord  Byron 
had  chiefly  confined  himself  during  the  first  winter 
he  passed  at  Venice ;  but  the  tone  of  conversation 
at  these  small  meetings  being  much  too  learned  for 
his  tastes,  he  was  induced,  the  following  year,  to 
discontinue  his  attendance  at  them,  and  chose,  in 
preference,  the  less  erudite,  but  more  easy,  society 
of  the  Countess  B  *  *.  Of  the  sort  of  learning  some- 
times displayed  by  the  Cl  blue"  visitants  at  Madame 
A  *  *'s,  a  circumstance  mentioned  by  the  noble 
poet  himself  may  afford  some  idea.  The  conversation 
happening  to  turn,  one  evening,  upon  the  statue  of 
Washington,  by  Canova,  which  had  been  just  ship- 
ped off  for  the  United  States,  Madame  A  *  *, 
who  was  then  engaged  in  compiling  a  Description 
llaisonnee  of  Canova's  works,  and  was  anxious  for 
information  respecting  the  subject  of  this  statue,  re- 
quested that  some  of  her  learned  guests  would  detail 
to  her  all  they  knew  of  him.  This  task  a  Signor  *  * 
(author  of  a  book  on  Geography  and  Statistics)  un- 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  213 

dertook  to  perform,  and,  after  some  other  equally 
sage  and  authentic  details,  concluded  by  informing 
her  that  "Washington  was  killed  in  a  duel  by 
Burke."  — "  What,"  exclaimed  Lord  Byron,  as  he 
stood  biting  his  lips  with  impatience  during  this  con- 
versation, "  what,  in  the  name  of  folly,  are  you  all 
thinking  of?"  —  for  he  now  recollected  the  famous 
duel  between  Hamilton  and  Colonel  Burr,  whom,  it 
was  evident,  this  learned  worthy  had  confounded 
with  Washington  and  Burke  ! 

In  addition  to  the  motives  easily  conceivable  for 
exchanging  such  a  society  for  one  that  offered,  at 
least,  repose  from  such  erudite  efforts,  there  was  also 
another  cause  more  immediately  leading  to  the  dis- 
continuance of  his  visits  to  Madame  A  *  *.  This 
lady,  who  has  been  sometimes  honoured  with  the 
title  of  "  The  De  Stael  of  Italy,"  had  written  a  book 
called  "  Portraits,"  containing  sketches  of  the  cha- 
racters of  various  persons  of  note  ;  and  it  being  her 
intention  to  introduce  Lord  Byron  into  this  assem- 
blage, she  had  it  intimated  to  his  Lordship  that  an 
article  in  which  his  portraiture  had  been  attempted 
was  to  appear  in  a  new  edition  she  was  about  to  pub- 
lish of  her  work.  It  was  expected,  of  course,  that 
this  intimation  would  awaken  in  him  some  desire  to 
see  the  sketch ;  but,  on  the  contrary,  he  was  provok- 
ing enough  not  to  manifest  the  least  symptoms  of 
curiosity.  Again  and  again  was  the  same  hint,  with 
as  little  success,  conveyed ;  till,  at  length,  on  finding 
that  no  impression  could  be  produced  in  this  manner, 
a  direct  offer  was  made,  in  Madame  A  *  *'s  own 
name,  to  submit  the  article  to  his  perusal.  He 
p  3 

214  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

could  now  contain  himself  no  longer.  With  more 
sincerity  than  politeness,  he  returned  for  answer  to 
the  lady,  that  he  was  by  no  means  ambitious  of  ap- 
pearing in  her  work ;  that,  from  the  shortness,  as 
well  as  the  distant  nature  of  their  acquaintance,  it 
was  impossible  she  could  have  qualified  herself  to 
be  his  portrait-painter,  and  that,  in  short,  she  could 
not  oblige  him  more  than  by  committing  the  article 
to  the  flames. 

Whether  the  tribute  thus  unceremoniously  treated 
ever  met  the  eyes  of  Lord  Byron,  I  know  not ;  but 
he  could  hardly,  I  think,  had  he  seen  it,  have  escaped 
a  slight  touch  of  remorse  at  having  thus  spurned 
from  him  a  portrait  drawn  in  no  unfriendly  spirit, 
and,  though  affectedly  expressed,  seizing  some  of  the 
less  obvious  features  of  his  character,  —  as,  for  in- 
stance, that  diffidence  so  little  to  be  expected  from 
a  career  like  his,  with  the  discriminating  niceness  of 
a  female  hand.  The  following  are  extracts  from 
this  Portrait :  — 

"  <  Toi,  dont  le  monde  encore  ignore  le  vrai  nom, 
Esprit  rnyst^rieux,  Mortel,  Ange,  ou  D£mon, 
Qui  que  tu  sois,  Byron,  bon  ou  fatal  ge"nie, 
J'aime  de  tes  conceits  la  sauvage  harmonie.' 


"  It  would  be  to  little  purpose  to  dwell  upon  the 
mere  beauty  of  a  countenance  in  which  the  expres- 
sion of  an  extraordinary  mind  was  so  conspicuous. 
What  serenity  was  seated  on  the  forehead,  adorned 
with  the  finest  chestnut  hair,  light,  curling,  and  dis- 
posed with  such  art,  that  the  art  was  hidden  in  the 
imitation  of  most  pleasing  nature  !  WThat  varied 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  215 

expression  in  his  eyes !  They  were  of  the  azure 
colour  of  the  heavens,  from  which  they  seemed  to 
derive  their  origin.  His  teeth,  in  form,  in  colour, 
in  transparency,  resembled  pearls ;  but  his  cheeks 
were  too  delicately  tinged  with  the  hue  of  the  pale 
rose.  His  neck,  which  he  was  in  the  habit  of  keep- 
ing uncovered  as  much  as  the  usages  of  society  per- 
mitted, seemed  to  have  been  formed  in  a  mould,  and 
was  very  white.  His  hands  were  as  beautiful  as  if 
they  had  been  the  works  of  art.  His  figure  left  nothing 
to  be  desired,  particularly  by  those  who  found  rather 
a  grace  than  a  defect  in  a  certain  light  and  gentle 
undulation  of  the  person  when  he  entered  a  room, 
and  of  which  you  hardly  felt  tempted  to  enquire 
the  cause.  Indeed  it  was  scarcely  perceptible,  — 
the  clothes  he  wore  were  so  long. 

"  He  was  never  seen  to  walk  through  the  streets 
of  Venice,  nor  along  the  pleasant  banks  of  the  Brenta, 
where  he  spent  some  weeks  of  the  summer ;  and 
there  are  some  who  assert  that  he  has  never  seen, 
excepting  from  a  window,  the  wonders  of  the  *  Piazza 
di  San  Marco  ; '  —  so  powerful  in  him  was  the  desire 
of  not  showing  himself  to  be  deformed  in  any  part 
of  his  person.  I,  however,  believe  that  he  has  often 
gazed  on  those  wonders,  but  in  the  late  and  solitary 
hour,  when  the  stupendous  edifices  which  sur- 
rounded him,  illuminated  by  the  soft  and  placid 
light  of  the  moon,  appeared  a  thousand  times  more 

"  His  face  appeared  tranquil  like  the  ocean  on  a 
fine  spring  morning ;  but,  like  it,  in  an  instant  be- 
came changed  into  the  tempestuous  and  terrible,  if 
p  4 

216  NOTICES    OF    THE 


a  passion,  (a  passion  did  I  say  ?)  a  thought,  a  word, 
occurred  to  disturb  his  mind.  His  eyes  then  lost 
all  their  sweetness,  and  sparkled  so  that  it  became 
difficult  to  look  on  them.  So  rapid  a  change  would 
not  have  been  thought  possible  ;  but  it  was  impos- 
sible to  avoid  acknowledging  that  the  natural  state 
of  his  mind  was  the  tempestuous. 

"  What  delighted  him  greatly  one  day  annoyed 
him  the  next ;  and  whenever  he  appeared  constant 
in  the  practice  of  any  habits,  it  arose  merely  from 
the  indifference,  not  to  say  contempt,  in  which  he 
held  them  all :  whatever  they  might  be,  they  were 
not  worthy  that  he  should  occupy  his  thoughts  with 
them.  His  heart  was  highly  sensitive,  and  suffered 
itself  to  be  governed  in  an  extraordinary  degree  by 
sympathy ;  but  his  imagination  carried  him  away, 
and  spoiled  every  thing.  He  believed  in  presages, 
and  delighted  in  the  recollection  that  he  held  this 
belief  in  common  with  Napoleon.  It  appeared  that, 
in  proportion  as  his  intellectual  education  was  culti- 
vated, his  moral  education  was  neglected,  and  that 
he  never  suffered  himself  to  know  or  observe  other 
restraints  than  those  imposed  by  his  inclinations. 
Nevertheless,  who  could  believe  that  he  had  a  con- 
stant, and  almost  infantine  timidity,  of  which  the 
evidences  were  so  apparent  as  to  render  its  existence 
indisputable,  notwithstanding  the  difficulty  experi- 
enced in  associating  with  Lord  Byron  a  sentiment 
which  had  the  appearance  of  modesty?  Conscious 
as  he  was  that,  wherever  he  presented  himself,  all 
eyes  were  fixed  on  him,  and  all  lips,  particularly 
those  of  the  women,  were  opened  to  say,  *  There  he 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  217 

is,  that  is  Lord  Byron,'  —  he  necessarily  found  him- 
self in  the  situation  of  an  actor  obliged  to  sustain  a 
character,  and  to  render  an  account,  not  to  others 
(for  about  them  he  gave  himself  no  concern),  but  to 
himself,  of  his  every  action  and  word.  This  occa- 
sioned him  a  feeling  of  uneasiness  which  was  obvious 
to  every  one. 

"  He  remarked  on  a  certain  subject  (which  in  1814 
was  the  topic  of  universal  discourse)  that  *  the  world 
was  worth  neither  the  trouble  taken  in  its  conquest, 
nor  the  regret  felt  at  its  loss,'  which  saying  (if  the 
worth  of  an  expression  could  ever  equal  that  of  many 
and  great  actions)  would  almost  show  the  thoughts 
and  feelings  of  Lord  Byron  to  be  more  stupendous 
and  unmeasured  than  those  of  him  respecting  whom 
he  spoke. 

"  His  gymnastic  exercises  were  sometimes  violent, 
and  at  others  almost  nothing.  His  body,  like  his 
spirit,  readily  accommodated  itself  to  all  his  inclina- 
tions. During  an  entire  winter,  he  went  out  every 
morning  alone  to  row  himself  to  the  island  of  Arme- 
nians, (a  small  island  situated  in  the  midst  of  a  tran- 
quil lake,  and  distant  from  Venice  about  half  a 
league,)  to  enjoy  the  society  of  those  learned  and 
hospitable  monks,  and  to  learn  their  difficult  lan- 
guage ;  and,  in  the  evening,  entering  again  into  his 
gondola,  he  went,  but  only  for  a  couple  of  hours, 
into  company.  A  second  winter,  whenever  the 
water  of  the  lake  was  violently  agitated,  he  was 
observed  to  cross  it,  and  landing  on  the  nearest  terra, 
firma,  to  fatigue  at  least  two  horses  with  riding. 

"  No  one  ever  heard  him  utter  a  word  of  French, 

218  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

although  he  was  perfectly  conversant  with  that  lan- 
guage. He  hated  the  nation  and  its  modern  litera- 
ture; in  like  manner,  he  held  the  modern  Italian 
literature  in  contempt,  and  said  it  possessed  but  one 
living  author,  —  a  restriction  which  I  know  not  whe- 
ther to  term  ridiculous,  or  false  and  injurious.  His 
voice  was  sufficiently  sweet  and  flexible.  He  spoke 
with  much  suavity,  if  not  contradicted,  but  rather 
addressed  himself  to  his  neighbour  than  to  the  entire 

"  Very  little  food  sufficed  him ;  and  he  preferred  fish 
to  flesh  for  this  extraordinary  reason,  that  the  latter, 
he  said,  rendered  him  ferocious.  He  disliked  seeing 
women  eat ;  and  the  cause  of  this  extraordinary  an- 
tipathy must  be  sought  in  the  dread  he  always  had, 
that  the  notion  he  loved  to  cherish  of  their  perfec- 
tion and  almost  divine  nature  might  be  disturbed. 
Having  always  been  governed  by  them,  it  would 
seem  that  his  very  self-love  was  pleased  to  take 
refuge  in  the  idea  of  their  excellence,  —  a  sentiment 
which  he  knew  how  (God  knows  how)  to  reconcile 
with  the  contempt  in  which,  shortly  afterwards,  almost 
with  the  appearance  of  satisfaction,  he  seemed  to 
hold  them.  But  contradictions  ought  not  to  surprise 
us  in  characters  like  Lord  Byron's  ;  and  then,  who 
does  not  know  that  the  slave  holds  in  detestation 
his  ruler  ? 

"  Lord  Byron  disliked  his  countrymen,  but  only 
because  he  knew  that  his  morals  were  held  in  con- 
tempt by  them.  The  English,  themselves  rigid 
observers  of  family  duties,  could  not  pardon  him  the 
neglect  of  his,  nor  his  trampling  on  principles;  there- 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  219 

fore  neither  did  he  like  being  presented  to  them,  nor 
did  they,  especially  when  they  had  their  wives  with 
them,  like  to  cultivate  his  acquaintance.  Still  there 
was  a  strong  desire  in  all  of  them  to  see  him,  and 
the  women  in  particular,  who  did  not  dare  to  look 
at  him  but  by  stealth,  said  in  an  under  voice,  «  What 
a  pity  it  is  ! '  If,  however,  any  of  his  compatriots 
of  exalted  rank  and  of  high  reputation  came  forward 
to  treat  him  with  courtesy,  he  showed  himself 
obviously  flattered  by  it,  and  was  greatly  pleased 
with  such  association.  It  seemed  that  to  the  wound 
which  remained  always  open  in  his  ulcerated  heart 
such  soothing  attentions  were  as  drops  of  healing 
balm,  which  comforted  him. 

"  Speaking  of  his  marriage,  —  a  delicate  subject, 
but  one  still  agreeable  to  him,  if  it  was  treated  in  a 
friendly  voice,  —  he  was  greatly  moved,  and  said  it 
had  been  the  innocent  cause  of  all  his  errors  and  all 
his  griefs.  Of  his  wife  he  spoke  with  much  respect 
and  affection.  He  said  she  was  an  illustrious  lady, 
distinguished  for  the  qualities  of  her  heart  and  un- 
derstanding, and  that  all  the  fault  of  their  cruel 
separation  lay  with  himself.  Now,  was  such  lan- 
guage dictated  by  justice  or  by  vanity  ?  Does  it 
not  bring  to  mind  the  saying  of  Julius,  that  the  wife 
of  Caesar  must  not  even  be  suspected  ?  What  vanity 
in  that  saying  of  Caesar  I  In  fact,  if  it  had  not  been 
from  vanity,  Lord  Byron  would  have  admitted  this 
to  no  one.  Of  his  young  daughter,  his  dear  Ada, 
he  spoke  with  great  tenderness,  and  seemed  to  be 
pleased  at  the  great  sacrifice  he  had  made  in  leaving 
her  to  comfort  her  mother.  The  intense  hatred  he 

220  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819 

bore  his  mother-in-law,  and  a  sort  of  Euryclea  of 
Lady  Byron,  two  women  to  whose  influence  he,  in  a 
great  measure,  attributed  her  estrangement  from  him, 
—demonstrated  clearly  how  painful  the  separation 
was  to  him,  notwithstanding  some  bitter  pleasantries 
which  occasionally  occur  in  his  writings  against  her 
also,  dictated  rather  by  rancour  than  by  indifference.'* 

From  the  time  of  his  misunderstanding  with 
Madame  A  *  *  *,  the  visits  of  the  noble  poet  were 
transferred  to  the  house  of  the  other  great  rallying 
point  of  Venetian  society,  Madame  B  *  *  *, — a  lady 
in  whose  manners,  though  she  had  long  ceased  to 
be  young,  there  still  lingered  much  of  that  attaching 
charm,  which  a  youth  passed  in  successful  efforts  to 
please  seldom  fails  to  leave  behind.  That  those 
powers  of  pleasing,  too,  were  not  yet  gone,  the 
fidelity  of,  at  least,  one  devoted  admirer  testified ; 
nor  is  she  supposed  to  have  thought  it  impossible 
that  Lord  Byron  himself  might  yet  be  linked  on  at 
the  end  of  that  long  chain  of  lovers,  which  had, 
through  so  many  years,  graced  the  triumphs  of  her 
beauty.  If,  however,  there  could  have  been,  in  any 
case,  the  slightest  chance  of  such  a  conquest,  she 
had  herself  completely  frustrated  it  by  introducing 
her  distinguished  visiter  to  Madame  Guiccioli,  — 
a  step  by  which  she  at  last  lost,  too,  even  the  orna- 
ment of  his  presence  at  her  parties,  as  in  conse- 
quence of  some  slighting  conduct,  on  her  part, 
towards  his  "  Dama,"  he  discontinued  his  attendance 
at  her  evening  assemblies,  and  at  the  time  of  my 
visit  to  Venice  had  given  up  society  altogether. 

J  819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  221 

I  could  soon  collect,  from  the  tone  held  respecting 
his  conduct  at  Madame  B  *  *  *'s,  how  subversive  of 
all  the  morality  of  intrigue  they  considered  the  late 
step  of  which  he  had  been  guilty  in  withdrawing  his 
acknowledged  "  Arnica"  from  the  protection  of  her 
husband,  and  placing  her,  at  once,  under  the  same 
roof  with  himself.  "  You  must  really  (said  the 
hostess  herself  to  me)  scold  your  friend  ;  —  till  this 
unfortunate  affair,  he  conducted  himself  so  well !  " — 
a  eulogy  on  his  previous  moral  conduct  which,  when 
I  reported  it  the  following  day  to  my  noble  host, 
provoked  at  once  a  smile  and  sigh  from  his  lips. 

The  chief  subject  of  our  conversation,  when  alone, 
was  his  marriage,  and  the  load  of  obloquy  which  it 
had  brought  upon  him.  He  was  most  anxious  to 
know  the  worst  that  had  been  alleged  of  his  con- 
duct ;  and  as  this  was  our  first  opportunity  of  speak- 
ing together  on  the  subject,  I  did  not  hesitate  to 
put  his  candour  most  searchingly  to  the  proof,  not 
only  by  enumerating  the  various  charges  I  had 
heard  brought  against  him  by  others,  but  by  specify- 
ing such  portions  of  these  charges  as  I  had  been 
inclined  to  think  not  incredible  myself.  To  all  this 
he  listened  with  patience,  and  answered  with  the 
most  unhesitating  frankness,  laughing  to  scorn  the 
tales  of  unmanly  outrage  related  of  him,  but,  at  the 
same  time,  acknowledging  that  there  had  been  in  his 
conduct  but  too  much  to  blame  and  regret,  and, 
stating  one  or  two  occasions,  during  his  domestic  life, 
when  he  had  been  irritated  into  letting  "  the  breath 
of  bitter  words"  escape  him,  —  words,  rather  those 
of  the  unquiet  spirit  that  possessed  him  than  his 

222  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

own,  and  which  he  now  evidently  remembered  with 
a  degree  of  remorse  and  pain  which  might  well  have 
entitled  them  to  be  forgotten  by  others. 

It  was,  at  the  same  time,  manifest,  that,  whatever 
admissions  he  might  be  inclined  to  make  respecting 
his  own  delinquencies,  the  inordinate  measure  of  the 
punishment  dealt  out  to  him  had  sunk  deeply  into 
his  mind,  and,  with  the  usual  effect  of  such  injustice, 
drove  him  also  to  be  unjust  himself;  —  so  much  so, 
indeed,  as  to  impute  to  the  quarter,  to  which  he  now 
traced  all  his  ill  fate,  a  feeling  of  fixed  hostility  to 
himself,  which  would  not  rest,  he  thought,  even  at 
his  grave,  but  continue  to  persecute  his  memory  as 
it  was  now  embittering  his  life.  So  strong  was  this 
impression  upon  him,  that  during  one  of  our  few 
intervals  of  seriousness,  he  conjured  me,  by  our 
friendship,  if,  as  he  both  felt  and  hoped,  I  should 
survive  him,  not  to  let  unmerited  censure  settle  upon 
his  name,  but.  while  I  surrendered  him  up  to  con- 
demnation, where  he  deserved  it,  to  vindicate  him 
where  aspersed. 

How  groundless  and  wrongful  were  these  appre- 
hensions, the  early  death  which  he  so  often  predicted 
and  sighed  for  has  enabled  us,  unfortunately  but  too 
soon,  to  testify.  So  far  from  having  to  defend  him 
against  any  such  assailants,  an  unworthy  voice  or 
two,  from  persons  more  injurious  as  friends  than  as 
enemies,  is  all  that  I  find  raised  in  hostility  to  his 
name ;  while  by  none,  I  am  inclined  to  think,  would 
a  generous  amnesty  over  his  grave  be  more  readily 
and  cordially  concurred  in  than  by  her,  among  whose 
numerous  virtues  a  forgiving  charity  towards  himself 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON. 

was  the  only  one  to  which  she  had  not  yet  taught 
him  to  render  justice. 

I  have  already  had  occasion  to  remark,  in  another 
part  of  this  work,  that  with  persons  who,  like  Lord 
Byron,  live  centred  in  their  own  tremulous  web  of 
sensitiveness,  those  friends  of  whom  they  see  least, 
and  who,  therefore,  least  frequently  come  in  collision 
with  them  in  those  every-day  realities  from  which 
such  natures  shrink  so  morbidly,  have  proportion- 
ately a  greater  chance  of  retaining  a  hold  on  their 
affections.  There  is,  however,  in  long  absence  from 
persons  of  this  temperament,  another  description  of 
risk  hardly  less,  perhaps,  to  be  dreaded.  If  the 
station  a  friend  holds  in  their  hearts  is,  in  near 
intercourse  with  them,  in  danger  from  their  sensi- 
tiveness, it  is  almost  equally,  perhaps,  at  the  mercy 
of  their  too  active  imaginations  during  absence. 
On  this  very  point,  I  recollect  once  expressing  my 
apprehensions  to  Lord  Byron,  in  a  passage  of  a 
letter  addressed  to  him  but  a  short  time  before  his 
death,  of  which  the  following  is,  as  nearly  as  I  can 
recall  it,  the  substance  :  —  "  When  with  you,  I  feel 
sure  of  you  ;  but,  at  a  distance,  one  is  often  a  little 
afraid  of  being  made  the  victim,  all  of  a  sudden,  of 
some  of  those  fanciful  suspicions,  which,  like  meteoric 
stones,  generate  themselves  (God  knows  how)  in  the 
upper  regions  of  your  imagination,  and  come  clatter- 
ing down  upon  our  heads,  some  fine  sunny  day,  when 
we  are  least  expecting  such  an  invasion." 

In  writing  thus  to  him,  I  had  more  particularly  in 
recollection  a  fancy  of  this  kind  respecting  myself, 
which  he  had,  not  long  before  my  present  visit  to 

224?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

him  at  Venice,  taken  into  his  head.  In  a  ludicrous, 
and  now,  perhaps,  forgotten  publication  of  mine, 
giving  an  account  of  the  adventures  of  an  English 
family  in  Paris,  there  had  occurred  the  following 
description  of  the  chief  hero  of  the  tale  :  — 

"  A  fine,  sallow,  sublime  sort  of  Werter-faced  man, 
With  mustachios  which  gave  (what  we  read  of  so  oft) 
The  dear  Corsair  expression,  half  savage,  half  soft,  — 
As  hyaenas  in  love  may  be  fancied  to  look,  or 
A  something  between  Abelard  and  old  Blucher." 

On  seeing  this  doggrel,  my  noble  friend,  —  as  I 
might,  indeed,  with  a  little  more  thought,  have  an- 
ticipated,—  conceived  the  notion  that  I  meant  to 
throw  ridicule  on  his  whole  race  of  poetic  heroes, 
and  accordingly,  as  I  learned  from  persons  then  in 
frequent  intercourse  with  him,  flew  out  into  one  of 
his  fits  of  half  humorous  rage  against  me.  This  he 
now  confessed  himself,  and,  in  laughing  over  the 
circumstance  with  me,  owned  that  he  had  even 
gone  so  far  as,  in  his  first  moments  of  wrath,  to 
contemplate  some  little  retaliation  for  this  perfidious 
hit  at  his  heroes.  "  But  when  I  recollected,"  said 
he,  "  what  pleasure  it  would  give  the  whole  tribe  of 
blockheads  and  blues  to  see  you  and  me  turning 
out  against  each  other,  I  gave  up  the  idea."  He 
was,  indeed,  a  striking  instance  of  what  may  be 
almost  invariably  observed,  that  they  who  best  know 
how  to  wield  the  weapon  of  ridicule  themselves,  are 
the  most  alive  to  its  power  in  the  hands  of  others. 
I  remember,  one  day,  —  in  the  year  1813,  I  think, 
—  as  we  were  conversing  together  about  critics  and 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  225 

their  influence  on  the  public.  "  For  my  part,"  he 
exclaimed,  "  I  don't  care  what  they  say  of  me,  so 
they  don't  quiz  me."  — "  Oh,  you  need  not  fear 
that,"  —  I  answered,  with  something,  perhaps,  of  a 
half  suppressed  smile  on  my  features,  —  "  nobody 
could  quiz  you? — "  You  could,  you  villain  !"  he  re- 
plied, clenching  his  hand  at  me,  and  looking,  at  the 
same  time,  with  comic  earnestness  into  my  face. 

Before  I  proceed  any  farther  with  my  own  recol- 
lections, I  shall  here  take  the  opportunity  of  extract- 
ing some  curious  particulars  respecting  the  habits 
and  mode  of  life  of  my  friend  while  at  Venice,  from 
an  account  obligingly  furnished  me  by  a  gentleman 
who  long  resided  in  that  city,  and  who,  during  the 
greater  part  of  Lord  Byron's  stay,  lived  on  terms  of 
the  most  friendly  intimacy  with  him. 

"  I  have  often  lamented  that  I  kept  no  notes  of 
his  observations  during  our  rides  and  aquatic  ex* 
cursions.  Nothing  could  exceed  the  vivacity  and 
variety  of  his  conversation,  or  the  cheerfulness  of 
his  manner.  His  remarks  on  the  surrounding  ob- 
jects were  always  original :  and  most  particularly 
striking  was  the  quickness  with  which  he  availed 
himself  of  every  circumstance,  however  trifling  in 
itself,  and  such  as  would  have  escaped  the  notice  of 
almost  any  other  person,  to  carry  his  point  in  such 
arguments  as  we  might  chance  to  be  engaged  in. 
He  was  feelingly  alive  to  the  beauties  of  nature, 
and  took  great  interest  in  any  observations,  which, 
as  a  dabbler  in  the  arts,  I  ventured  to  make  upon 
the  effects  of  light  and  shadow,  or  the  changes  pro- 

VOL.  IV.  Q 

226  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

duced  in  the  colour  of  objects  by  every  variation  in 
the  atmosphere. 

"  The  spot  where  we  usually  mounted  our  horses 
had  been  a  Jewish  cemetery;  but  the  French,  during 
their  occupation  of  Venice,  had  thrown  down  the 
enclosures,  and  levelled  all  the  tombstones  with  the 
ground,  in  order  that  they  might  not  interfere  with 
the  fortifications  upon  the  Lido,  under  the  guns  of 
which  it  was  situated.  To  this  place,  as  it  was  known 
to  be  that  where  he  alighted  from  his  gondola  and 
met  his  horses,  the  curious  amongst  our  country 
people,  who  were  anxious  to  obtain  a  glimpse  of 
him,  used  to  resort ;  and  it  was  amusing  in  the 
extreme  to  witness  the  excessive  coolness  with 
which  ladies,  as  well  as  gentlemen,  would  advance 
within  a  very  few  paces  of  him,  eyeing  him,  some 
with  their  glasses,  as  they  would  have  done  a  statue 
in  a  museum,  or  the  wild  beasts  at  Exeter  'Change. 
However  flattering  this  might  be  to  a  man's  vanity, 
Lord  Byron,  though  he  bore  it  very  patiently,  ex- 
pressed himself,  as  I  believe  he  really  was,  exces- 
sively annoyed  at  it. 

"  I  have  said  that  our  usual  ride  was  along  the 
sea-shore,  and  that  the  spot  where  we  took  horse, 
and  of  course  dismounted,  had  been  a  cemetery.  It 
will  readily  be  believed,  that  some  caution  was  ne- 
cessary in  riding  over  the  broken  tombstones,  and 
that  it  was  altogether  an  awkward  place  for  horses 
to  pass.  As  the  length  of  our  ride  was  not  very 
great,  scarcely  more  than  six  miles  in  all,  we  seldom 
rode  fast,  that  we  might  at  least  prolong  its  dura- 
tion ;  and  enjoy  as  much  as  possible  the  refreshing 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  227 

air  of  the  Adriatic.  One  day,  as  we  were  leisurely 
returning  homewards,  Lord  Byron,  all  at  once,  and 
without  saying  any  thing  to  me,  set  spurs  to  his 
horse  and  started  off  at  full  gallop,  making  the 
greatest  haste  he  could  to  get  to  his  gondola.  I 
could  not  conceive  what  fit  had  seized  him,  and  had 
some  difficulty  in  keeping  even  within  a  reasonable 
distance  of  him,  while  I  looked  around  me  to  dis- 
cover, if  I  were  able,  what  could  be  the  cause  of 
his  unusual  precipitation.  At  length  I  perceived  at 
some  distance  two  or  three  gentlemen,  who  were 
running  along  the  opposite  side  of  the  island  nearest 
the  Lagoon,  parallel  with  him,  towards  his  gondola, 
hoping  to  get  there  in  time  to  see  him  alight ;  and 
a  race  actually  took  place  between  them,  he  en- 
deavouring to  outstrip  them.  In  this  he,  in  fact, 
succeeded,  and,  throwing  himself  quickly  from  his 
horse,  leapt  into  his  gondola,  of  which  he  hastily 
closed  the  blinds,  ensconcing  himself  in  a  corner  so 
as  not  to  be  seen.  For  my  own  part,  not  choosing 
to  risk  my  neck  over  the  ground  I  have  spoken  of,  I 
followed  more  leisurely  as  soon  as  I  came  amongst 
the  gravestones,  but  got  to  the  place  of  embarkation 
just  at  the  same  moment  with  my  curious  country- 
men, and  in  time  to  witness  their  disappointment  at 
having  had  their  run  for  nothing.  I  found  him  ex- 
ulting in  his  success  in  outstripping  them.  He 
expressed  in  strong  terms  his  annoyance  at  what  he 
called  their  impertinence,  whilst  I  could  not  but 
laugh  at  his  impatience,  as  well  as  at  the  mortifi- 
cation of  the  unfortunate  pedestrians,  whose  eager- 
ness to  see  him,  I  said,  was,  in  my  opinion,  highly 
Q  2 

228  .        NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

flattering  to  him.  That,  he  replied,  depended  on 
the  feeling  with  which  they  came  ;  and  he  had  not 
the  vanity  to  believe  that  they  were  influenced  by 
any  admiration  of  his  character  or  of  his  abilities, 
but  that  they  were  impelled  merely  by  idle  curio- 
sity. Whether  it  was  so  or  not,  I  cannot  help 
thinking  that  if  they  had  been  of  the  other  sex,  he 
would  not  have  been  so  eager  to  escape  from  their 
observation,  as  in  that  case  he  would  have  repaid 
them  glance  for  glance. 

"  The  curiosity  that  was  expressed  by  all  classes 
of  travellers  to  see  him,  and  the  eagerness  with 
which  they  endeavoured  to  pick  up  any  anecdotes 
of  his  mode  of  life,  were  carried  to  a  length  which 
will  hardly  be  credited.  It  formed  the  chief  subject 
of  their  enquiries  of  the  gondoliers  who  conveyed 
them  from  terra  firma  to  the  floating  city;  and  these 
people,  who  are  generally  loquacious,  were  not  at  all 
backward  in  administering  to  the  taste  and  humours 
of  their  passengers,  relating  to  them  the  most  extra- 
vagant and  often  unfounded  stories.  They  took  care 
to  point  out  the  house  where  he  lived,  and  to  give 
such  hints  of  his  movements  as  might  afford  them 
an  opportunity  of  seeing  him.  Many  of  the  English 
visiters,  under  pretext  of  seeing  his  house,  in  which 
there  were  no  paintings  of  any  consequence,  nor, 
besides  himself,  any  thing  worthy  of  notice,  contrived 
to  obtain  admittance  through  the  cupidity  of  his  ser- 
vants, and  with  the  most  barefaced  impudence  forced 
their  way  even  into  his  bedroom,  in  the  hopes  of 
seeing  him.  Hence  arose,  in  a  great  measure,  his 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  229 

bitterness  towards  them,  which  he  has  expressed  in 
a  note  to  one  of  his  poems,  on  the  occasion  of  some 
unfounded  remark  made  upon  him  by  an  anonymous 
traveller  in  Italy  ;  and  it  certainly  appears  well  cal- 
culated to  foster  that  cynicism  which  prevails  in  his 
latter  works  more  particularly,  and  which,  as  well  as 
the  misanthropical  expressions  that  occur  in  those 
which  first  raised  his  reputation,  I  do  not  believe  to 
have  been  his  natural  feeling.  Of  this  I  am  certain, 
that  I  never  witnessed  greater  kindness  than  in  Lord 

"  The  inmates  of  his  family  were  all  extremely 
attached  to  him,  and  would  have  endured  any  thing 
on  his  account.  He  was  indeed  culpably  lenient  to 
them  ;  for  even  when  instances  occurred  of  their 
neglecting  their  duty,  or  taking  an  undue  advantage 
of  his  good-nature,  he  rather  bantered  than  spoke 
seriously  to  them  upon  it,  and  could  not  bring  him- 
self to  discharge  them,  even  when  he  had  threatened 
to  do  so.  An  instance  occurred  within  my  knowledge 
of  his  unwillingness  to  act  harshly  towards  a  trades- 
man whom  he  had  materially  assisted,  not  only  by 
lending  him  money,  but  by  forwarding  his  interest  in 
every  way  that  he  could.  Notwithstanding  repeated 
acts  of  kindness  on  Lord  Byron's  part,  this  man 
robbed  and  cheated  him  in  the  most  barefaced  man- 
ner ;  and  when  at  length  Lord  Byron  was  induced  to 
sue  him  at  law  for  the  recovery  of  his  money,  the 
only  punishment  he  inflicted  upon  him,  when  sen- 
tence against  him  was  passed,  was  to  put  him  in  pri- 
son for  one  week,  and  then  to  let  him  out  again, 
Q  3 

230  NOTICES    OF    THE 


although  his  debtor  had  subjected  him  to  a  consider- 
able additional  expense,  by  dragging  him  into  all  the 
different  courts  of  appeal,  and  that  he  never  at  last 
recovered  one  halfpenny  of  the  money  owed  to  him. 
Upon  this  subject  he  writes  to  me  from  Ravenna, 
<  If  *  *  is  in  (prison),  let  him  out ;  if  out,  put  him  in 
for  a  week,  merely  for  a  lesson,  and  give  him  a  good 

"  He  was  also  ever  ready  to  assist  the  distressed, 
and  he  was  most  unostentatious  in  his  charities:  for 
besides  considerable  sums  which  he  gave  away  to 
applicants  at  his  own  house,  he  contributed  largely 
by  weekly  and  monthly  allowances  to  persons  whom 
he  had  never  seen,  and  who,  as  the  money  reached 
them  by  other  hands,  did  not  even  know  who  was 
their  benefactor.  One  or  two  instances  might  be 
adduced  where  his  charity  certainly  bore  an  appear- 
ance of  ostentation ;  one  particularly,  when  he  sent 
fifty  louis  d'or  to  a  poor  printer  whose  house  had 
been  burnt  to  the  ground,  and  all  his  property  de- 
stroyed ;  but  even  this  was  not  unattended  with  ad- 
vantage ;  for  it  in  a  manner  compelled  the  Austrian 
authorities  to  do  something  for  the  poor  sufferer, 
which  I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying  they  would 
not  have  done  otherwise  ;  and  I  attribute  it  entirely 
to  the  publicity  of  his  donation,  that  they  allowed 
the  man  the  use  of  an  unoccupied  house  belonging 
to  the  government  until  he  could  rebuild  his  own, 
or  re-establish  his  business  elsewhere.  Other  in- 
stances might  be  perhaps  discovered  where  his 
liberalities  proceeded  from  selfish,  and  not  very 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  231 

worthy  motives*  ;  but  these  are  rare,  and  it  would 
be  unjust  in  the  extreme  to  assume  them  as  proofs 
of  his  character." 

It  has  been  already  mentioned  that,  in  writing  to 
my  noble  friend  to  announce  my  coming,  I  had  ex- 
pressed a  hope  that  he  would  be  able  to  go  on  with 
me  to  Rome  ;  and  I  had  the  gratification  of  finding, 
on  my  arrival,  that  he  was  fully  prepared  to  enter 
into  this  plan.  On  becoming  acquainted,  however, 
with  all  the  details  of  his  present  situation,  I  so  far 
sacrificed  my  own  wishes  and  pleasure  as  to  advise 
strongly  that  he  should  remain  at  La  Mira.  In  the 
first  place,  I  saw  reason  to  apprehend  that  his  leav- 
ing Madame  Guiccioli  at  this  crisis  might  be  the 
means  of  drawing  upon  him  the  suspicion  of  neglect- 
ing, if  not  actually  deserting,  a  young  person  who 
had  just  sacrificed  so  much  to  her  devotion  for  him, 
and  whose  position,  at  this  moment,  between  the 
Count  and  Lord  Byron,  it  required  all  the  generous 
prudence  of  the  latter  to  shield  from  shame  or  fall. 
There  had  just  occurred  too,  as  it  appeared  to  me, 
a  most  favourable  opening  for  the  retrieval  of,  at 
least,  the  imprudent  part  of  the  transaction,  by  re- 
placing the  lady  instantly  under  her  husband's  pro- 
tection, and  thus  enabling  her  still  to  retain  that 
station  in  society  which,  in  such  society,  nothing 
but  such  imprudence  could  have  endangered. 

This  latter  hope  had  been  suggested  by  a  letter  he 

*  The  writer  here,  no  doubt,  alludes  to  such  questionable 
liberalities  as  those  exercised  towards  the  husbands  of  his  tw0 
favourites,  Madame  S  *  *  and  the  Fornarina. 
Q  4 

232  ,       NOTICES   OF    THE  1819, 

one  day  showed  me,  (as  we  were  dining  together  alone, 
at  the  well-known  Pellegrino,)  which  had  that  morn- 
ing been  received  by  the  Contessa  from  her  husband, 
and  the  chief  object  of  which  was  —  not  to  express 
any  censure  of  her  conduct,  but  to  suggest  that  she 
should  prevail  upon  her  noble  admirer  to  transfer 
into  his  keeping  a  sum  of  1000/.,  which  was  then 
lying,  if  I  remember  right,  in  the  hands  of  Lord 
Byron's  banker  at  Ravenna,  but  which  the  worthy 
Count  professed  to  think  would  be  more  advantage- 
ously placed  in  his  own.  Security,  the  writer  added, 
would  be  given,  and  five  per  cent,  interest  allowed  ; 
as  to  accept  of  the  sum  on  any  other  terms  he  should 
hold  to  be  an  "  avvilimento"  to  him.  Though,  as 
regarded  the  lady  herself,  who  has  since  proved,  by 
a  most  noble  sacrifice,  how  perfectly  disinterested 
were  her  feelings  throughout*,  this,  trait  of  so  wholly 

*  The  circumstance  here  alluded  to  may  be  most  clearly, 
perhaps,  communicated  to  my  readers  through  the  medium  of 
the  following  extract  from  a  letter  which  Mr.  Barry  (the  friend 
and  banker  of  Lord  Byron)  did  me  the  favour  of  addressing 
to  me,  soon  after  his  Lordship's  death :  —  "  When  Lord  Byron 
went  to  Greece,  he  gave  me  orders  to  advance  money  to 
Madame  G  *  * ;  but  that  lady  would  never  consent  to  receive 
any.  His  Lordship  had  also  told  me  that  he  meant  to  leave  his 
will  in  my  hands,  and  that  there  would  be  a  bequest  in  it  of 
10,000/.  to  Madame  G  *  *.  He  mentioned  this  circumstance 
also  to  Lord  Blessington.  When  the  melancholy  news  of  his 
death  reached  me,  I  took  for  granted  that  this  will  would  be 
found  among  the  sealed  papers  he  had  left  with  me ;  but  there 
iras  no  such  instrument.  I  immediately  then  wrote  to 
Madame  G  *  *,  enquiring  if  she  knew  any  thing  concerning  it, 
and  mentioning,  at  the  same  time,  what  his  Lordship  had  said 
fts  to  the  legacy.  To  this  the  lady  replied,  that  he  had  fre- 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON. 


opposite  a  character  in  her  lord  must  have  still 
further  increased  her  disgust  at  returning  to  him, 
yet  so  important  did  it  seem,  as  well  for  her  friend's 
sake  as  her  own,  to  retrace,  while  there  was  yet 
time,  their  last  imprudent  step,  that  even  the  sacri- 
fice of  this  sum,  which  I  saw  would  materially  facili- 
tate such  an  arrangement,  did  not  appear  to  me  by 
any  means  too  high  a  price  to  pay  for  it.  On  this 
point,  however,  my  noble  friend  entirely  differed 
with  me ;  and  nothing  could  be  more  humorous 
and  amusing  than  the  manner  in  which,  in  his 
newly  assumed  character  of  a  lover  of  money,  he 
dilated  on  the  many  virtues  of  a  thousand  pounds, 
and  his  determination  not  to  part  with  a  single  one 
of  them  to  Count  Guiccioli.  Of  his  confidence,  too, 
in  his  own  power  of  extricating  himself  from  this 
difficulty  he  spoke  with  equal  gaiety  and  humour ; 
and  Mr.  Scott,  who  joined  our  party  after  dinner, 
having  taken  the  same  view  of  the  subject  as  I  did, 
he  laid  a  wager  of  two  sequins  with  that  gentleman, 
that,  without  any  such  disbursement,  he  would  yet 
bring  all  right  again,  and  "  save  the  lady  and  the 
money  too." 

quently  spoken  to  her  on  the  same  subject,  but  that  she  had 
always  cut  the  conversation  short,  as  it  was  a  topic  she  by  no 
means  liked  to  hear  him  speak  upon.  In  addition,  she  ex- 
pressed a  wish  that  no  such  will  as  I  had  mentioned  would  be 
found ;  as  her  circumstances  were  already  sufficiently  inde- 
pendent, and  the  world  might  put  a  wrong  construction  on  her 
attachment,  should  it  appear  that  her  fortunes  were,  in  any 
degree,  bettered  by  it." 

234-  NOTICES    OJF    THE  1819. 

It  is  indeed,  certain,  that  he  had  at  this  time 
taken  up  the  whim  (for  it  hardly  deserves  a  more 
serious  name)  of  minute  and  constant  watchfulness 
over  his  expenditure ;  and,  as  most  usually  happens, 
it  was  with  the  increase  of  his  means  that  this  in- 
creased sense  of  the  value  of  money  came.  The 
first  symptom  I  saw  of  this  new  fancy  of  his  was 
the  exceeding  joy  which  he  manifested  on  my  pre- 
senting to  him  a  rouleau  of  twenty  Napoleons,  which 
Lord  K  *  *  d,  to  whom  he  had,  on  some  occasion, 
lent  that  sum,  had  intrusted  me  with,  at  Milan,  to 
deliver  into  his  hands.  With  the  most  joyous  and 
diverting  eagerness,  he  tore  open  the  paper,  and,  in 
counting  over  the  sum,  stopped  frequently  to  con- 
gratulate himself  on  the  recovery  of  it. 

Of  his  household  frugalities  I  speak  but  on  the 
authority  of  others ;  but  it  is  not  difficult  to  conceive 
that,  with  a  restless  spirit  like  his,  which  delighted 
always  in  having  something  to  contend  with,  and 
which,  but  a  short  time  before,  "  for  want,"  as  he 
said,  "  of  something  craggy  to  break  upon,"  had 
tortured  itself  with  the  study  of  the  Armenian 
language,  he  should,  in  default  of  all  better  excite- 
ment, find  a  sort  of  stir  and  amusement  in  the  task 
of  contesting,  inch  by  inch,  every  encroachment  of 
expense,  and  endeavouring  to  suppress  what  he 
himself  calls 

"  That  climax  of  all  earthly  ills, 
The  inflammation  of  our  weekly  bills. " 

In  truth,  his  constant  recurrence  to  the  praise 
of  avarice  in  Don  Juan,  and  the  humorous  zest  with 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON. 

which  he  delights  to  dwell  on  it,  shows  how  new- 
fangled, as  well  as  how  far  from  serious,  was  his 
adoption  of  this  "  good  old-gentlemanly  vice."  In 
the  same  spirit  he  had,  a  short  time  before  my  arrival 
at  Venice,  established  a  hoarding-box,  with  a  slit  in 
the  lid,  into  which  he  occasionally  put  sequins,  and, 
at  stated  periods,  opened  it  to  contemplate  his 
treasures.  His  own  ascetic  style  of  living  enabled 
him,  as  far  as  himself  was  concerned,  to  gratify  this 
taste  for  economy  in  no  ordinary  degree,  —  his 
daily  bill  of  fare,  when  the  Margarita  was  his  com- 
panion, consisting,  I  have  been  assured,  of  but  four 
beccafichi,  of  which  the  Fornarina  eat  three,  leaving 
even  him  hungry. 

That  his  parsimony,  however  (if  this  new  phasis 
of  his  ever- shifting  character  is  to  be  called  by  such 
a  name),  was  very  far  from  being  of  that  kind  which 
Bacon  condemns,  as  "  withholding  men  from  works 
of  liberality,"  is  apparent  from  all  that  is  known  of 
his  munificence,  at  this  very  period,  —  some  par- 
ticulars of  which,  from  a  most  authentic  source, 
have  just  been  cited,  proving  amply  that  while,  for 
the  indulgence  of  a  whim,  he  kept  one  hand  closed, 
he  gave  free  course  to  his  generous  nature  by  dis- 
pensing lavishly  from  the  other.  It  should  be  re- 
membered, too,  that  as  long  as  money  shall  continue 
to  be  one  of  the  great  sources  of  power,  so  long  will 
they  who  seek  influence  over  their  fellow-men  attach 
value  to  it  as  an  instrument ;  and  the  more  lowly 
they  are  inclined  to  estimate  the  disinterestedness 
of  the  human  heart,  the  more  available  and  precious 
will  they  consider  the  talisman  that  gives  such 

236  NOTICES    OF    THE  J819 

power  over  it.  Hence,  certainly,  it  is  not  among 
those  who  have  thought  highest  of  mankind  that 
the  disposition  to  avarice  has  most  generally  dis- 
played itself.  In  Swift  the  love  of  money  was  strong 
and  avowed ;  and  to  Voltaire  the  same  propensity 
was  also  frequently  imputed,  —  on  about  as  sufficient 
grounds,  perhaps,  as  to  Lord  Byron. 

On  the  day  preceding  that  of  my  departure  from 
Venice,  my  noble  host,  on  arriving  from  La  Mira  to 
dinner,  told  me,  with  all  the  glee  of  a  schoolboy  who 
had  been  just  granted  a  holiday,  that,  as  this  was  my 
last  evening,  the  Contessa  had  given  him  leave  to 
"  make  a  night  of  it,"  and  that  accordingly  he  would 
not  only  accompany  me  to  the  opera,  but  we  should 
sup  together  at  some  cafe  (as  in  the  old  times)  after- 
wards. Observing  a  volume  in  his  gondola,  with  a 
number  of  paper  marks  between  the  leaves,  I  en- 
quired of  him  what  it  was  ?  —  "  Only  a  book,"  he 
answered,  "  from  which  I  am  trying  to  crib,  as  I  do 
wherever  I  can  *  ;  —  and  that's  the  way  I  get  the 
character  of  an  original  poet."  On  taking  it  up  and 
looking  into  it,  I  exclaimed,  "  Ah,  my  old  friend, 
Agathon!"f  —  "What!"  he  cried,  archly,  "you 
have  been  beforehand  with  me  there,  have  you  ?  " 

Though  in  imputing  to  himself  premeditated 
plagiarism,  he  was,  of  course,  but  jesting,  it  was,  I 
am  inclined  to  think,  his  practice,  when  engaged  in 
the  composition  of  any  work,  to  excite  thus  his  vein 

*  This  will  remind  the  reader  of  Moliere's  avowal  in  speaking 
of  wit :  —  «  C'est  mon  bien,  et  je  le  prends  partout  ou  je  le 

f  The  History  of  Agathon,  by  Wieland. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  237 

by  the  perusal  of  others,  on  the  same  subject  or 
plan,  from  which  the  slightest  hint  caught  by  his 
imagination,  as  he  read,  was  sufficient  to  kindle 
there  such  a  train  of  thought  as,  but  for  that  spark, 
had  never  been  awakened,  and  of  which  he  himself 
soon  forgot  the  source.  In  the  present  instance,  the 
inspiration  he  sought  was  of  no  very  elevating  nature, 
—  the  anti-spiritual  doctrines  of  the  Sophist  in  this 
Romance  *  being  what  chiefly,  I  suspect,  attracted 
his  attention  to  its  pages,  as  not  unlikely  to  supply 
him  with  fresh  argument  and  sarcasm  for  those  de- 
preciating views  of  human  nature  and  its  destiny, 

•  Between  Wieland,  the  author  of  this  Romance,  and  Lord 
Byron,  may  be  observed  some  of  those  generic  points  of  re- 
semblance which  it  is  so  interesting  to  trace  in  the  characters 
of  men  of  genius.  The  German  poet,  it  is  said,  never  perused 
any  work  that  made  a  strong  impression  upon  him,  without 
being  stimulated  to  commence  one,  himself,  on  the  same  topic 
and  plan ;  and  in  Lord  Byron  the  imitative  principle  was 
almost  equally  active,  —  there  being  few  of  his  poems  that 
might  not,  in  the  same  manner,  be  traced  to  the  strong  impulse 
given  to  his  imagination  by  the  perusal  of  some  work  that  had 
just  before  interested  him.  In  the  history,  too,  of  their  lives 
and  feelings,  there  was  a  strange  and  painful  coincidence, — 
the  revolution  that  took  place  in  all  Wieland's  opinions,  from 
the  Platonism  and  romance  of  his  youthful  days,  to  the  ma- 
terial and  Epicurean  doctrines  that  pervaded  all  his  maturer 
works,  being  chiefly,  it  is  supposed,  brought  about  by  the 
shock  his  heart  had  received  from  a  disappointment  of  its 
affections  in  early  life.  Speaking  of  the  illusion  of  this  first, 
passion,  in  one  of  his  letters,  he  says,  —  "  It  is  one  for  which 
no  joys,  no  honours,  no  gifts  of  fortune,  not  even  wisdom  itself 
can  afford  an  equivalent,  and  which,  when  it  has  once  vanished, 
returns  no  more." 

238  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

which  he  was  now,  with  all  the  wantonness  of  un- 
bounded genius,  enforcing  in  Don  Juan. 

Of  this  work  he  was,  at  the  time  of  my  visit  to 
him,  writing  the  third  Canto,  and  before  dinner,  one 
day,  read  me  two  or  three  hundred  lines  of  it;  — 
beginning  with  the  stanzas  "  Oh  Wellington,"  &c. 
which  at  that  time  formed  the  opening  of  this  third 
Canto,  but  were  afterwards  reserved  for  the  com- 
mencement of  the  ninth.  My  opinion  of  the  poem, 
both  as  regarded  its  talent  and  its  mischief,  he  had 
already  been  made  acquainted  with,  from  my  having 
been  one  of  those, — his  Committee,  as  he  called  us, 
— to  whom,  at  his  own  desire,  the  manuscript  of 
the  two  first  Cantos  had  been  submitted,  and  who, 
as  the  reader  has  seen,  angered  him  not  a  little  by 
deprecating  the  publication  of  it.  In  a  letter  which 
I,  at  that  time,  wrote  to  him  on  the  subject,  after 
praising  the  exquisite  beauty  of  the  scenes  between 
Juan  and  Haidee,  I  ventured  to  say,  "  Is  it  not  odd 
that  the  same  licence  which,  in  your  early  Satire, 
you  blamed  me  for  being  guilty  of  on  the  borders  of 
my  twentieth  year,  you  are  now  yourself  (with 
infinitely  greater  power,  and  therefore  infinitely 
greater  mischief)  indulging  in  after  thirty ! " 

Though  I  now  found  him,  in  full  defiance  of  such 
remonstrances,  proceeding  with  this  work,  he  had 
yet,  as  his  own  letters  prove,  been  so  far  influenced 
by  the  general  outcry  against  his  poem,  as  to  feel 
the  zeal  and  zest  with  which  he  had  commenced  it 
considerably  abated,  —  so  much  so,  as  to  render, 
ultimately,  in  his  own  opinion,  the  third  and  fourth 
Cantos  much  inferior  in  spirit  to  the  two  first.  So 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  239 

sensitive,  indeed, — in  addition  to  his  usual  abun- 
dance of  this  quality, — did  he,  at  length,  grow  on 
the  subject,  that  when  Mr.  W.  Bankes,  who  suc- 
ceeded me,  as  his  visiter,  happened  to  tell  him,  one 
day,  that  he  had  heard  a  Mr.  Saunders  (or  some 
such  name),  then  resident  at  Venice,  declare  that, 
in  his  opinion,  "  Don  Juan  was  all  Grub  Street," 
such  an  effect  had  this  disparaging  speech  upon  his 
mind,  (though  coming  from  a  person  who,  as  he 
himself  would  have  it,  was  "  nothing  but  a  d — d  salt- 
fish  seller,")  that,  for  some  time  after,  by  his  own 
confession  to  Mr.  Bankes,  he  could  not  bring  himself 
to  write  another  line  of  the  poem ;  and,  one  morn- 
ing, opening  a  drawer  where  the  neglected  manu- 
script lay,  he  said  to  his  friend,  "  Look  here  —  this 
is  all  Mr.  Saunders's  l  Grub  Street/  " 

To  return,  however,  to  the  details  of  our  last 
evening  together  at  Venice.  After  a  dinner  with 
Mr.  Scott  at  the  Pellegrino,  we  all  went,  rather  late, 
to  the  opera,  where  the  principal  part  in  the  Bacca- 
nali  di  Roma  was  represented  by  a  female  singer, 
whose  chief  claim  to  reputation,  according  to  Lord 
Byron,  lay  in  her  having  stilettoed  one  of  her  favourite 
lovers.  In  the  intervals  between  the  singing  he 
pointed  out  to  me  different  persons  among  the 
audience,  to  whom  celebrity  of  various  sorts,  but, 
for  the  most  part,  disreputable,  attached;  and  of 
one  lady  who  sat  near  us,  he  related  an  anecdote, 
which,  whether  new  or  old,  may,  as  creditable  to 
Venetian  facetiousness,  be  worth,  perhaps,  repeating. 
This  lady  had,  it  seems,  been  pronounced  by  Napo- 
leon the  finest  woman  in  Venice ;  but  the  Venetians, 

240  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

not  quite  agreeing  with  this  opinion  of  the  great 
man,  contented  themselves  with  calling  her  "  La 
Bella  per  Decreto"  —  adding  (as  the  Decrees  always 
begin  with  the  word  "  Considerando  "),  "  Ma  senza 
il  Considerando." 

From  the  opera,  in  pursuance  of  our  agreement 
to  "  make  a  night  of  it,"  we  betook  ourselves  to  a 
sort  of  cabaret  in  the  Place  of  St.  Mark,  and  there, 
within  a  few  yards  of  the  Palace  of  the  Doges,  sat 
drinking  hot  brandy  punch,  and  laughing  over  old 
times,  till  the  clock  of  St.  Mark  struck  the  second 
hour  of  the  morning.  Lord  Byron  then  took  me  in 
his  gondola,  and,  the  moon  being  in  its  fullest  splen- 
dour, he  made  the  gondoliers  row  us  to  such  points 
of  view  as  might  enable  me  to  see  Venice,  at  that 
hour,  to  advantage.  Nothing  could  be  more  so- 
lemnly beautiful  than  the  whole  scene  around,  and 
I  had,  for  the  first  time,  the  Venice  of  my  dreams 
before  me.  All  those  meaner  details  which  so 
offend  the  eye  by  day  were  now  softened  down  by 
the  moonlight  into  a  sort  of  visionary  indistinctness ; 
and  the  effect  of  that  silent  city  of  palaces,  sleeping, 
as  it  were,  upon  the  waters,  in  the  bright  stillness 
of  the  night,  was  such  as  could  not  but  affect  deeply 
even  the  least  susceptible  imagination.  My  com- 
panion saw  that  I  was  moved  by  it,  and  though 
familiar  with  the  scene  himself,  seemed  to  give  way, 
for  the  moment,  to  the  same  strain  of  feeling ;  and, 
as  we  exchanged  a  few  remarks  suggested  by  that 
wreck  of  human  glory  before  us,  his  voice,  habitually 
so  cheerful,  sunk  into  a  tone  of  mournful  sweetness, 
such  as  I  had  rarely  before  heard  from  him,  and 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  241 

shall  not  easily  forget.  This  mood,  however,  was 
but  of  the  moment ;  some  quick  turn  of  ridicule  soon 
carried  him  off  into  a  totally  different  vein,  and  at 
about  three  o'clock  in  the  morning,  at  the  door  of 
his  own  palazzo,  we  parted,  laughing,  as  we  had 
met;  —  an  agreement  having  been  first  made  that  I 
should  take  an  early  dinner  with  him  next  day  at 
his  villa,  on  my  road  to  Ferrara. 

Having  employed  the  morning  of  the  following 
day  in  completing  my  round  of  sights  at  Venice, — 
taking  care  to  visit  specially  "  that  picture  by  Gior- 
gione,"  to  which  the  poet's  exclamation,  "  such  a 
woman ! "  *  will  long  continue  to  attract  all  votaries 
of  beauty, — I  took  my  departure  from  Venice,  and, 
at  about  three  o'clock,  arrived  at  La  Mira.  I  found 
my  noble  host  waiting  to  receive  me,  and,  in  passing 
with  him  through  the  hall,  saw  his  little  Allegra, 
who,  with  her  nursery  maid,  was  standing  there  as 
if  just  returned  from  a  walk.  To  the  perverse  fancy 
he  had  for  falsifying  his  own  character,  and  even 
imputing  to  himself  faults  the  most  alien  to  his 
nature,  I  have  already  frequently  adverted,  and  had, 
on  this  occasion,  a  striking  instance  of  it.  After  I 
had  spoken  a  little,  in  passing,  to  the  child,  and 
made  some  remark  on  its  beauty,  he  said  to  me, — 

*  "  "Pis  but  a  portrait  of  his  son  and  wife, 

And  self;  but  such  a  woman  !  love  in  life  !  " 

BEPFO,  Stanza  xii. 

This  seems,  by  the  way,  to  be  an  incorrect  description  of  the 
picture,  as,  according  to  Vasari  and  others,  Giorgione  never  was 
married,  and  died  young. 

VOL.  IV.  R 

24?2  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

"  Have  you  any  notion — but  I  suppose  you  have — 
of  what  they  call  the  parental  feeling  ?  For  myself, 
I  have  not  the  least."  And  yet,  when  that  child 
died,  in  a  year  or  two  afterwards,  he  who  now  uttered 
this  artificial  speech  was  so  overwhelmed  by  the 
event,  that  those  who  were  about  him  at  the  time 
actually  trembled  for  his  reason  ! 

A  short  time  before  dinner  he  left  the  room,  and 
in  a  minute  or  two  returned,  carrying  in  his  hand  a 
white  leather  bag.  "  Look  here,"  he  said,  holding 
it  up  —  "  this  would  be  worth  something  to  Murray, 
though  you,  I  dare  say,  would  not  give  sixpence  for 
it."  —  "What  is  it?"  I  asked. — "My  Life  and 
Adventures,"  he  answered.  On  hearing  this,  I 
raised  my  hands  in  a  gesture  of  wonder.  "  It  is 
not  a  thing,"  he  continued,  "  that  can  be  published 
during  my  lifetime,  but  you  may  have  it  —  if  you 
like  —  there,  do  whatever  you  please  with  it."  In 
taking  the  bag,  and  thanking  him  most  warmly,  I 
added,  "  This  will  make  a  nice  legacy  for  my  little 
Tom,  who  shall  astonish  the  latter  days  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  with  it."  He  then  added,  "  You 
may  show  it  to  any  of  our  friends  you  think  worthy 
of  it:"  —  and  this  is,  nearly  word  for  word,  the 
whole  of  what  passed  between  us  on  the  subject. 

At  dinner  we  were  favoured  with  the  presence  of 
Madame  Guiccioli,  who  was  so  obliging  as  to  furnish 
me,  at  Lord  Byron's  suggestion,  with  a  letter  of 
introduction  to  her  brother,  Count  Gamba,  whom  it 
was  probable,  they  both  thought,  I  should  meet  at 
Rome.  This  letter  I  never  had  an  opportunity  of 
presenting ;  and  as  it  was  left  open  for  me  to  read, 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  24*3 

and  was,  the  greater  part  of  it,  I  have  little  doubt, 
dictated  by  my  noble  friend,  I  may  venture,  without 
impropriety,  to  give  an  extract  from  it  here ; — pre- 
mising that  the  allusion  to  the  "  Castle,"  &c.  refers 
to  some  tales  respecting  the  cruelty  of  Lord  Byron 
to  his  wife,  which  the  young  Count  had  heard,  and, 
at  this  time,  implicitly  believed.  After  a  few  sen- 
tences of  compliment  to  the  bearer,  the  letter  pro- 
ceeds:— "  He  is  on  his  way  to  see  the  wonders  of 
Rome,  and  there  is  no  one,  I  am  sure,  more  qualified 
to  enjoy  them.  I  shall  be  gratified  and  obliged  by 
your  acting,  as  far  as  you  can,  as  his  guide.  He  is 
a  friend  of  Lord  Byron's,  and  much  more  accurately 
acquainted  with  his  history  than  those  who  have 
related  it  to  you.  He  will  accordingly  describe  to 
you,  if  you  ask  him,  the  shape,  the  dimensions,  and 
whatever  else  you  may  please  to  require,  of  that 
Castle  in  which  he  keeps  imprisoned  a  young  and  in- 
nocent wife,  &c.  &c.  My  dear  Pietro,  whenever  you 
feel  inclined  to  laugh,  do  send  two  lines  of  answer 
to  your  sister,  who  loves  and  ever  will  love  you 
with  the  greatest  tenderness — Teresa  Guiccioli."  * 

*  "  Egli  viene  per  vedere  le  meraviglie  di  questa  Citta,  e 
sono  certa  che  nessuno  meglio  di  lui  saprebbe  gustarle.  Mi 
sara  grato  che  vi  facciate  sua  guida  come  potrete,  e  voi  poi  me 
ne  avrete  obbligo.  Egli  e  amico  de  Lord  Byron  —  sa  la  sua 
storia  assai  piii  precisamente  di  quelli  che  a  voi  la  raccontarono. 
Egli  dunque  vi  raccontera  se  lo  interrogherete  la  forma,  le 
dimensioni,  e  tuttocio  che  vi  piacera  del  Castello  ove  tiene  im- 
prigwnata  una  giovane  innocente  sposa,  &c.  &c.  Mio  caro 
Pietro,  quando  ti  sei  bene  sfogato  a  ridere,  allora  rispondi  due 
righe  alia  tua  sorella,  che  t'  ama  e  t'  amera  sempre  colla  mag- 
giore  tenerezza." 

R  2 

244  NOTICES   OF    THE  1819, 

After  expressing  his  regret  that  I  had  not  been 
able  to  prolong  my  stay  at  Venice,  my  noble  friend 
said,  "  At  least,  I  think,  you  might  spare  a  day  or 
two  to  go  with  me  to  Arqua.  I  should  like,"  he 
continued,  thoughtfully,  "  to  visit  that  tomb  with 
you:" — then,  breaking  off  into  his  usual  gay  tone, 
"a  pair  of  poetical  pilgrims — eh,  Tom,  what  say 
you?" — That  I  should  have  declined  this  offer,  and 
thus  lost  the  opportunity  of  an  excursion  which 
would  have  been  remembered,  as  a  bright  dream, 
through  all  my  after-life,  is  a  circumstance  I  never 
can  think  of  without  wonder  and  self-reproach. 
But  the  main  design  on  which  I  had  then  set  my 
mind  of  reaching  Rome,  and,  if  possible,  Naples, 
within  the  limited  period  which  circumstances  al- 
lowed, rendered  me  far  less  alive  than  I  ought  to 
have  been  to  the  preciousness  of  the  episode  thus 
offered  to  me. 

When  it  was  time  for  me  to  depart,  he  expressed 
his  intention  to  accompany  me  a  few  miles ;  and, 
ordering  his  horses  to  follow,  proceeded  with  me  in 
the  carriage  as  far  as  Stra,  where  for  the  last  time 
— how  little  thinking  it  was  to  be  the  last ! — I  bade 
my  kind  and  admirable  friend  farewell. 

LETTER  341.        TO  MR.   HOPPNER. 

«  October  22.  1819. 

"  I  am  glad  to  hear  of  your  return,  but  I  do  not 
know  how  to  congratulate  you — unless  you  think 
differently  of  Venice  from  what  I  think  now,  and 
you  thought  always.  I  am,  besides,  about  to  renew 

1819.  LIFE    OF   LORD    BYRON.  245 

your  troubles  by  requesting  you  to  be  judge  between 
Mr.  E  *  *  *  and  myself  in  a  small  matter  of  imputed 
peculation  and  irregular  accounts  on  the  part  of  that 
phoenix  of  secretaries.  As  I  knew  that  you  had 
not  parted  friends,  at  the  same  time  that  /  refused 
for  my  own  part  any  judgment  but  yours,  I  offered 
him  his  choice  of  any  person,  the  least  scoundrel 
native  to  be  found  in  Venice,  as  his  own  umpire ; 
but  he  expressed  himself  so  convinced  of  your  im- 
partiality, that  he  declined  any  but  you.  This  is  in 
his  favour. — The  paper  within  will  explain  to  you 
the  default  in  his  accounts.  You  will  hear  his  ex- 
planation, and  decide  if  it  so  please  you.  I  shall 
not  appeal  from  the  decision. 

"  As  he  complained  that  his  salary  was  insufficient, 
I  determined  to  have  his  accounts  examined,  and 
the  enclosed  was  the  result — It  is  all  in  black  and 
white  with  documents,  and  I  have  despatched 
Fletcher  to  explain  (or  rather  to  perplex)  the 

"  I  have  had  much  civility  and  kindness  from 
Mr.  Dorville  during  your  journey,  and  I  thank  him 

"  Your  letter  reached  me  at  your  departure  *,  and 

*  Mr.  Hoppner,  before  his  departure  from  Venice  for  Swit- 
zerland, had,  with  all  the  zeal  of  a  true  friend,  written  a  letter 
to  Lord  Byron,  entreating  him  "  to  leave  Ravenna  while  yet 
he  had  a  whole  skin,  and  urging  him  not  to  risk  the  safety  of  a 
person  he  appeared  so  sincerely  attached  to  —  as  well  as  his 
own  —  for  the  gratification  of  a  momentary  passion,  which 
could  only  be  a  source  of  regret  to  both  parties."  In  the  same 
letter  Mr.  Hoppner  informed  him  of  some  reports  he  had 
B  3 

246  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

displeased  me  very  much : — not  that  it  might  not 
be  true  in  its  statement  and  kind  in  its  intention, 
but  you  have  lived  long  enough  to  know  how  useless 
all  such  representations  ever  are  and  must  be  in 
cases  where  the  passions  are  concerned.  To  reason 
with  men  in  such  a  situation  is  like  reasoning  with 
a  drunkard  in  his  cups  —  the  only  answer  you  will 
get  from  him  is,  that  he  is  sober,  and  you  are  drunk. 

"  Upon  that  subject  we  will  (if  you  like)  be 
silent.  You  might  only  say  what  would  distress 
me  without  answering  any  purpose  whatever ;  and 
I  have  too  many  obligations  to  you  to  answer  you 
in  the  same  style.  So  that  you  should  recollect 
that  you  have  also  that  advantage  over  me.  I  hope 
to  see  you  soon. 

"  I  suppose  you  know  that  they  said  at  Venice, 
that  I  was  arrested  at  Bologna  as  a  Carbonaro  — 
a  story  about  as  true  as  their  usual  conversation. 
Moore  has  been  here  —  I  lodged  him  in  my  house 
at  Venice,  and  went  to  see  him  daily ;  but  I  could 
not  at  that  time  quit  La  Mira  entirely.  You  and  I 
were  not  very  far  from  meeting  in  Switzerland. 
With  my  best  respects  to  Mrs.  Hoppner,  believe 
me  ever  and  truly,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  Allegra  is  here  in  good  health  and 
spirits — I  shall  keep  her  with  me  till  I  go  to 
England,  which  will  perhaps  be  in  the  spring.  It 

heard  lately  at  Venice,  which,  though  possibly,  he  said,  un- 
founded, had  much  increased  his  anxiety  respecting  the  con- 
sequences of  the  connection  formed  by  him. 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  24-7 

has  just  occurred  to  me  that  you  may  not  perhaps 
like  to  undertake  the  office  of  judge  between  Mr.  E. 
and  your  humble  servant.  —  Of  course,  as  Mr. 
Listen  (the  comedian,  not  the  ambassador)  says, 
*  it  is  all  hoptional;'  but  I  have  no  other  resource. 
I  do  not  wish  to  find  him  a  rascal,  if  it  can  be 
avoided,  and  would  rather  think  him  guilty  of 
carelessness  than  cheating.  The  case  is  this  — 
can  I,  or  not,  give  him  a  character  for  honesty  ?  — 
It  is  not  my  intention  to  continue  him  in  my 

LETTER  342.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

«  October  25.  1819. 

"  You  need  not  have  made  any  excuses  about 
the  letter :  I  never  said  but  that  you  might,  could, 
should,  or  would  have  reason.  I  merely  described 
my  own  state  of  inaptitude  to  listen  to  it  at  that 
time,  and  in  those  circumstances.  Besides,  you 
did  not  speak  from  your  own  authority  —  but  from 
what  you  said  you  had  heard.  Now  my  blood  boils 
to  hear  an  Italian  speaking  ill  of  another  Italian, 
because,  though  they  lie  in  particular,  they  speak 
truth  in  general  by  speaking  ill  at  all ;  —  and  al- 
though they  know  that  they  are  trying  and  wishing 
to  lie,  they  do  not  succeed,  merely  because  they 
can  say  nothing  so  bad  of  each  other,  that  it  may 
not,  and  must  not  be  true,  from  the  atrocity  of  their 
long  debased  national  character.  * 

*  "  Tliis  language  "  (says  Mr.  Hoppner,  in  some  remarks 
upon  the  above  letter)  "  is  strong,  but  it  was  the  language  of 

R  4 

248  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

"  With  regard  to  E.,  you  will  perceive  a  most 
irregular,  extravagant  account,  without  proper  do- 
cuments to  support  it.  He  demanded  an  increase 
of  salary,  which  made  me  suspect  him ;  he  sup- 
ported an  outrageous  extravagance  of  expenditure, 
and  did  not  like  the  dismission  of  the  cook;  he 
never  complained  of  him  —  as  in  duty  bound  —  at 
the  time  of  his  robberies.  I  can  only  say,  that  the 
house  expense  is  now  under  one  half  of  what  it 
then  was,  as  he  himself  admits.  He  charged  for  a 
comb  eighteen  francs,  —  the  real  price  was  eight. 
He  charged  a  passage  from  Fusina  for  a  person 
named  lambelli,  who  paid  it  herself,  as  she  will 
prove  if  necessary.  He  fancies,  or  asserts  himself, 
the  victim  of  a  domestic  complot  against  him ;  — 
accounts  are  accounts  —  prices  are  prices  ;  —  let 
him  make  out  a  fair  detail.  /  am  not  prejudiced 
against  him  —  on  the  contrary,  I  supported  him 
against  the  complaints  of  his  wife,  and  of  his  former 
master,  at  a  time  when  I  could  have  crushed  him 
like  an  earwig ;  and  if  he  is  a  scoundrel,  he  is  the 

prejudice ;  and  he  was  rather  apt  thus  to  express  the  feelings  of 
the  moment,  without  troubling  himself  to  consider  how  soon 
he  might  be  induced  to  change  them.  He  was  at  this  time  so 
sensitive  on  the  subject  of  Madame  *  *,  that,  merely  because 
some  persons  had  disapproved  of  her  conduct,  he  declaimed  in 
the  above  manner  against  the  whole  nation.  I  never"  (con- 
tinues Mr.  Hoppner)  "  was  partial  to  Venice ;  but  disliked  it 
almost  from  the  first  month  of  my  residence  there.  Yet  I  ex- 
perienced more  kindness  in  that  place  than  I  ever  met  with  in 
any  country,  and  witnessed  acts  of  generosity  and  disin- 
terestedness such  as  rarely  are  met  with  elsewhere." 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  219 

greatest  of  scoundrels,  an  ungrateful  one.  The 
truth  is,  probably,  that  he  thought  I  was  leaving 
Venice,  and  determined  to  make  the  most  of  it. 
At  present  he  keeps  bringing  in  account  after  ac- 
count^ though  he  had  always  money  in  hand  —  as  I 
believe  you  know  my  system  was  never  to  allow 
longer  than  a  week's  bills  to  run.  Pray  read  him 
this  letter  —  I  desire  nothing  to  be  concealed 
against  which  he  may  defend  himself. 

"  Pray  how  is  your  little  boy  ?  and  how  are  you  ? 
—  I  shall  be  up  in  Venice  very  soon,  and  we  will  be 
bilious  together.  I  hate  the  place  and  all  that  it 

«  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  343.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  October  28.  1819. 

"  I  have  to  thank  you  for  your  letter,  and  your 
compliment  to  Don  Juan.  I  said  nothing  to  you 
about  it,  understanding  that  it  is  a  sore  subject 
with  the  moral  reader,  and  has  been  the  cause  of  a 
great  row ;  but  I  am  glad  you  like  it.  I  will  say 
nothing  about  the  shipwreck,  except  that  I  hope 
you  think  it  is  as  nautical  and  technical  as  verse 
could  admit  in  the  octave  measure. 

"  The  poem  has  not  sold  well,  so  Murray  says  — 
*  but  the  best  judges,  &c.  say,  &c.'  so  says  that 
worthy  man.  I  have  never  seen  it  in  print.  The 
third  Canto  is  in  advance  about  one  hundred 
stanzas ;  but  the  failure  of  the  two  first  has  weak- 
ened my  estro,  and  it  will  neither  be  so  good  as  the 

250  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

two  former,  nor  completed,  unless  I  get  a  little 
more  riscaldato  in  its  behalf.  I  understand  the 
outcry  was  beyond  every  thing.  —  Pretty  cant  for 
people  who  read  Tom  Jones,  and  Roderick  Random, 
and  the  Bath  Guide,  and  Ariosto,  and  Dryden,  and 
Pope  —  to  say  nothing  of  Little's  Poems  I  Of 
course  I  refer  to  the  morality  of  these  works,  and 
not  to  any  pretension  of  mine  to  compete  with  them 
in  any  thing  but  decency.  I  hope  yours  is  the  Paris 
edition,  and  that  you  did  not  pay  the  London 
price.  I  have  seen  neither  except  in  the  news- 

"  Pray  make  my  respects  to  Mrs.  H.,  and  take 
care  of  your  little  boy.  All  my  household  have  the 
fever  and  ague,  except  Fletcher,  Allegra,  and  mysen 
(as  we  used  to  say  in  Nottinghamshire),  and  the 
horses,  and  Mutz,  and  Moretto.  In  the  beginning 
of  November,  perhaps  sooner,  I  expect  to  have  the 
pleasure  of  seeing  you.  To-day  I  got  drenched  by 
a  thunder-storm,  and  my  horse  and  groom  too,  and 
his  horse  all  bemired  up  to  the  middle  in  a  cross- 
road. It  was  summer  at  noon,  and  at  five  we  were 
bewintered ;  but  the  lightning  was  sent  perhaps  to 
let  us  know  that  the  summer  was  not  yet  over.  It 
is  queer  weather  for  the  27th  October. 

«  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  344.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  October  29.  1819. 

"  Yours  of  the  15th  came  yesterday.  I  am  sorry 
that  you  do  not  mention  a  large  letter  addressed  to 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  251 

your  care  for  Lady  Byron,  from  me,  at  Bologna, 
two  months  ago.  Pray  tell  me,  was  this  letter 
received  and  forwarded  ? 

"  You  say  nothing  of  the  vice-consulate  for  the 
Ravenna  patrician,  from  which  it  is  to  be  inferred 
that  the  thing  will  not  be  done. 

"  I  had  written  about  a  hundred  stanzas  of  a 
third  Canto  to  Don  Juan,  but  the  reception  of  the 
two  first  is  no  encouragement  to  you  nor  me  to 

"  I  had  also  written  about  600  lines  of  a  poem, 
the  Vision  (or  Prophecy)  of  Dante,  the  subject  a  view 
of  Italy  in  the  ages  down  to  the  present  —  suppos- 
ing Dante  to  speak  in  his  own  person,  previous  to 
his  death,  and  embracing  all  topics  in  the  way  of 
prophecy,  like  Lycophron's  Cassandra  ;  but  this  and 
the  other  are  both  at  a  stand-still  for  the  present. 

"  I  gave  Moore,  who  is  gone  to  Rome,  my  Life 
in  MS.,  in  seventy-eight  folio  sheets,  brought  down 
to  1816.  But  this  I  put  into  his  hands  for  his  care, 
as  he  has  some  other  MSS.  of  mine  —  a  Journal 
kept  in  1814,  &c.  Neither  are  for  publication 
during  my  life ;  but  when  I  am  cold  you  may  do 
what  you  please.  In  the  mean  time,  if  you  like  to 
read  them  you  may,  and  show  them  to  anybody 
you  like  —  I  care  not. 

"  The  Life  is  Memoranda,  and  not  Confessions. 
I  have  left  out  all  my  loves  (except  in  a  general 
way),  and  many  other  of  the  most  important  things 
(because  I  must  not  compromise  other  people),  so 
that  it  is  like  the  play  of  Hamlet  —  *  the  part  of 
Hamlet  omitted  by  particular  desire/  But  you  will 

252  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

find  many  opinions,  and  some  fun,  with  a  detailed 
account  of  my  marriage,  and  its  consequences,  as 
true  as  a  party  concerned  can  make  such  account, 
for  I  suppose  we  are  all  prejudiced. 
-  "  I  have  never  read  over  this  Life  since  it  was 
written,  so  that  I  know  not  exactly  what  it  may 
repeat  or  contain.  Moore  and  I  passed  some  merry 
days  together. 

"  I  probably  must  return  for  business,  or  in  my 
way  to  America.  Pray,  did  you  get  a  letter  for 
Hobhouse,  who  will  have  told  you  the  contents? 
I  understand  that  the  Venezuelan  commissioners 
had  orders  to  treat  with  emigrants;  now  I  want 
to  go  there.  I  should  not  make  a  bad  South- 
American  planter,  and  I  should  take  my  natural 
daughter,  Allegra,  with  me,  and  settle.  I  wrote, 
at  length,  to  Hobhouse,  to  get  information  from 
Perry,  who,  I  suppose,  is  the  best  topographer  and 
trumpeter  of  the  new  republicans.  Pray  write. 

"  Yours  ever. 

"  P.  S.  Moore  and  I  did  nothing  but  laugh.  He 
will  tell  you  of  *  my  whereabouts,'  and  all  my  pro- 
ceedings at  this  present ;  they  are  as  usual.  You 
should  not  let  those  fellows  publish  false  <  Don 
Juans ; '  but  do  not  put  my  name,  because  I  mean 

to  cut  R ts  up  like  a  gourd,  in  the  preface,  if  I 

continue  the  poem." 

LETTER  345.      TO    MR.   HOPPNER. 

"  October  29.  1819. 

"  The  Ferrara  story  is  of  a  piece  with  all  the  rest 
of  the  Venetian  manufacture,  —  you  may  judge.  I 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  253 

only  changed  horses  there  since  I  wrote  to  you, 
after  my  visit  in  June  last.  *  Convent,  and  '  carry 
offi  quotha !  and  '  girl'  I  should  like  to  know  who 
has  been  carried  off,  except  poor  dear  me.  I  have 
been  more  ravished  myself  than  anybody  since  the 
Trojan  war ;  but  as  to  the  arrest  and  its  causes,  one 
is  as  true  as  the  other,  and  I  can  account  for  the 
invention  of  neither.  I  suppose  it  is  some  confusion 
of  the  tale  of  the  F  *  *  and  of  Me.  Guiccioli,  and 
half  a  dozen  more  ;  but  it  is  useless  to  unravel  the 
web,  when  one  has  only  to  brush  it  away.  I  shall 
settle  with  Master  E.  who  looks  very  blue  at  your 
in-decision,  and  swears  that  he  is  the  best  arithme- 
tician in  Europe ;  and  so  I  think  also,  for  he  makes 
out  two  and  two  to  be  five. 

"  You  may  see  me  next  week.  I  have  a  horse  or 
two  more  (five  in  all),  and  I  shall  repossess  myself 
of  Lido,  and  I  will  rise  earlier,  and  we  will  go  and 
shake  our  livers  over  the  beach,  as  heretofore,  if  you 
like  —  and  we  will  make  the  Adriatic  roar  again  with 
our  hatred  of  that  now  empty  oyster-shell,  without 
its  pearl,  the  city  of  Venice. 

"  Murray  sent  me  a  letter  yesterday :  the  im- 
postors have  published  two  new  third  Cantos  of  Don 
Juan :  —  the  devil  take  the  impudence  of  some 
blackguard  bookseller  or  other  therefor  /  Perhaps 
I  did  not  make  myself  understood ;  he  told  me  the 
sale  had  been  great,  1200  out  of  1500  quarto,  I  be- 
lieve (which  is  nothing  after  selling  13,000  of  the 
Corsair  in  one  day) ;  but  that  the  « best  judges,'  &c. 
had  said  it  was  very  fine,  and  clever,  and  particu- 
larly good  English,  and  poetry,  and  all  those  con- 

254-  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

solatory  things,  which  are  not,  however,  worth  a 
single  copy  to  a  bookseller  :  and  as  to  the  author,  of 
course  I  am  in  a  d — ned  passion  at  the  bad  taste  of 
the  times,  and  swear  there  is  nothing  like  posterity, 
who,  of  course,  must  know  more  of  the  matter  than 
their  grandfathers.  There  has  been  an  eleventh 
commandment  to  the  women  not  to  read  it,  and, 
what  is  still  more  extraordinary,  they  seem  not  to 
have  broken  it.  But  that  can  be  of  little  import  to 
them,  poor  things,  for  the  reading  or  non-reading  a 
book  will  never  *  *  *  *. 

"  Count  G.  comes  to  Venice  next  week,  and  I 
am  requested  to  consign  his  wife  to  him,  which  shall 
be  done.  What  you  say  of  the  long  evenings  at  the 
Mira,  or  Venice,  reminds  me  of  what  Curran  said 
to  Moore :  —  '  So  I  hear  you  have  married  a  pretty 
woman,  and  a  very  good  creature,  too  —  an  excellent 
creature.  Pray  —  um  !  how  do  you  pass  your  even- 
ings 9 '  It  is  a  devil  of  a  question  that,  and  perhaps 
as  easy  to  answer  with  a  wife  as  with  a  mistress. 

"  If  you  go  to  Milan,  pray  leave  at  least  a  Vice- 
Consul — the  only  vice  that  will  ever  be  wanting  in 
Venice.  D'Orville  is  a  good  fellow.  But  you  shall 
go  to  England  in  the  spring  with  me,  and  plant 
Mrs.  Hoppner  at  Berne  with  her  relations  for  a  few 
months.  I  wish  you  had  been  here  (at  Venice,  I 
mean,  not  the  Mira)  when  Moore  was  here  —  we 
were  very  merry  and  tipsy.  He  hated  Venice,  by  the 
way,  and  swore  it  was  a  sad  place.  * 

*  I  beg  to  say  that  this  report  of  my  opinion  of  Venice 
is  coloured  somewhat  too  deeply  by  the  feelings  of  the 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  255 

"  So  Madame  Albrizzi's  death  is  in  danger  —  poor 
woman  !  Moore  told  me  that  at  Geneva  they  had 
made  a  devil  of  a  story  of  the  Fornaretta :  —  '  Young 
lady  seduced  !  —  subsequent  abandonment !  —  leap 
into  the  Grand  Canal ! '  —  and  her  being  in  the 
'  hospital  of  fous  in  consequence  ! '  I  should  like 
to  know  who  was  nearest  being  made  'fou,'  and  be 
d — d  to  them  I  Don't  you  think  me  in  the  inte- 
resting character  of  a  very  ill-used  gentleman  ?  I 
hope  your  little  boy  is  well.  Allegrina  is  flourishing 
like  a  pomegranate  blossom.  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  346.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  November  8.  1819. 

"  Mr.  Hoppner  has  lent  me  a  copy  of «  Don  Juan/ 
Paris  edition,  which  he  tells  me  is  read  in  Switzer- 
land by  clergymen  and  ladies  with  considerable  ap- 
probation. In  the  second  Canto,  you  must  alter  the 
49th  stanza  to 

"  'Tvvas  twilight,  and  the  sunless  day  went  down 

Over  the  waste  of  waters,  like  a  veil 
Which  if  withdrawn  would  but  disclose  the  frown 

Of  one  whose  hate  is  mask'd  but  to  assail ; 
Thus  to  their  hopeless  eyes  the  night  was  shown, 

And  grimly  darkled  o'er  their  faces  pale 
And  the  dim  desolate  deep ;  twelve  days  had  Fear 
Been  their  familiar,  and  now  Death  was  here. 

"  I  have  been  ill  these  eight  days  with  a  tertian 
fever,  caught  in  the  country  on  horseback  in  a 
thunder-storm.  Yesterday  I  had  the  fourth  attack : 

256  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

the  two  last  were  very  smart,  the  first  day  as  well 
as  the  last  being  preceded  by  vomiting.  It  is  the 
fever  of  the  place  and  the  season.  I  feel  weakened, 
but  not  unwell,  in  the  intervals,  except  headach 
and  lassitude. 

"  Count  Guiccioli  has  arrived  in  Venice,  and  has 
presented  his  spouse  (who  had  preceded  him  two 
months  for  her  health  and  the  prescriptions  of  Dr. 
Aglietti)  with  a  paper  of  conditions,  regulations  of 
hours  and  conduct,  and  morals,  &c.  &c.  &c.  which 
he  insists  on  her  accepting,  and  she  persists  in  re- 
fusing. I  am  expressly,  it  should  seem,  excluded 
by  this  treaty,  as  an  indispensable  preliminary ;  so 
that  they  are  in  high  dissension,  and  what  the  re- 
sult may  be  I  know  not,  particularly  as  they  are 
consulting  friends. 

"  To-night,  as  Countess  Guiccioli  observed  me 
poring  over  <  Don  Juan,'  she  stumbled  by  mere 
chance  on  the  1 37th  stanza  of  the  first  Canto,  and 
asked  me  what  it  meant.  I  told  her,  l  Nothing  — 
but  "  your  husband  is  coming." '  As  I  said  this  ir 
Italian,  with  some  emphasis,  she  started  up  in  i 
fright,  and  said,  *  Oh,  my  God,  is  he  coming?' 
thinking  it  was  her  own,  who  either  was  or  ought 
to  have  been  at  the  theatre.  You  may  suppose 
we  laughed  when  she  found  out  the  mistake. 
You  will  be  amused,  as  I  was  ;  —  it  happened  not 
three  hours  ago. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  last  week,  but  have  added  no- 
thing to  the  third  Canto  since  my  fever,  nor  to 
«  The  Prophecy  of  Dante.'  Of  the  former  there  are 
about  100  octaves  done ;  of  the  latter  about  500 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  257 

lines  —  perhaps  more.  Moore  saw  the  third  Juan, 
as  far  as  it  then  went.  I  do  not  know  if  my  fever 
will  let  me  go  on  with  either,  and  the  tertian  lasts, 
they  say,  a  good  while.  I  had  it  in  Malta  on  my 
way  home,  and  the  malaria  fever  in  Greece  the 
year  before  that.  The  Venetian  is  not  very  fierce, 
but  I  was  delirious  one  of  the  nights  with  it,  for  an 
hour  or  two,  and,  on  my  senses  coming  back,  found 
Fletcher  sobbing  on  one  side  of  the  bed,  and  La 
Contessa  Guiccioli  *  weeping  on  the  other ;  so  that 

*  The  following  curious  particulars  of  his  delirium  are 
given  by  Madame  Guiccioli :  —  "At  the  beginning  of  winter 
Count  Guiccioli  came  from  Ravenna  to  fetch  me.  When  he 
arrived,  Lord  Byron  was  ill  of  a  fever,  occasioned  by  his 
having  got  wet  through  ;  —  a  violent  storm  having  surprised 
him  while  taking  his  usual  exercise  on  horseback.  He  had 
been  delirious  the  whole  night,  and  I  had  watched  continually 
by  his  bedside.  During  his  delirium  he  composed  a  good 
many  verses,  and  ordered  his  servant  to  write  them  down  from 
his  dictation.  The  rhythm  of  these  verses  was  quite  correct, 
and  the  poetry  itself  had  no  appearance  of  being  the  work  of 
a  delirious  mind.  He  preserved  them  for  some  time  after  he 
got  well,  and  then  burned  them." — "  Sul  cominciare  dell* 
inverno  il  Conte  Guiccioli  venne  a  prendermi  per  ricondurmi 
a  Ravenna.  Quando  egli  giunse  Ld.  Byron  era  ammalato  di 
febbri  prese  per  essersi  bagnato  avendolo  sorpreso  un  forte 
temporale  mentre  faceva  1'  usato  suo  esercizio  a  cavallo.  Egli 
aveva  delirato  tutta  la  notte,  ed  io  aveva  sempre  vegliato  presso 
al  suo  letto.  Nel  suo  delirio  egli  compose  molti  versi  che 
ordino  al  suo  domestico  di  scrivere  sotto  la  sua  dittatura.  La 
misura  dei  versi  era  esatissima,  e  la  poesia  pure  non  pareva 
opera  di  una  mente  in  delirio.  Egli  la  conserve  lungo  tempo 
dopo  restabilito  —  poi  1'  abbruccio." 

I  have  been  informed,  too,  that,  during  his  ravings  at  this 
VOL.  IV.  S 

258  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

I  had  no  want  of  attendance.  I  have  not  yet  taken 
any  physician,  because,  though  I  think  they  may 
relieve  in  chronic  disorders,  such  as  gout  and  the 
like,  £c.  &c.  &c.  (though  they  can't  cure  them)  — 
just  as  surgeons  are  necessary  to  set  bones  and  tend 
wounds  —  yet  I  think  fevers  quite  out  of  their  reach, 
and  remediable  only  by  diet  and  nature. 

"  I  don't  like  the  taste  of  bark,  but  I  suppose  that 
I  must  take  it  soon. 

"  Tell  Rose  that  somebody  at  Milan  (an  Austrian, 
Mr.  Hoppner  says)  is  answering  his  book.  William 
Bankes  is  in  quarantine  at  Trieste.  I  have  not  lately 
heard  from  you.  Excuse  this  paper:  it  is  long 
paper  shortened  for  the  occasion.  What  folly  is 
this  of  Carlile's  trial  ?  why  let  him  have  the  ho- 
nours of  a  martyr?  it  will  only  advertise  the  books 
in  question.  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  As  I  tell  you  that  the  Guiccioli  business 
is  on  the  eve  of  exploding  in  one  way  or  the  other, 
I  will  just  add  that,  without  attempting  to  influence 
the  decision  of  the  Contessa,  a  good  deal  depends 
upon  it.  If  she  and  her  husband  make  it  up,  you 
will,  perhaps,  see  me  in  England  sooner  than  you 
expect.  If  not,  I  shall  retire  with  her  to  France  or 
America,  change  my  name,  and  lead  a  quiet  pro- 
vincial life.  All  this  may  seem  odd,  but  I  have 
got  the  poor  girl  into  a  scrape  ;  and  as  neither 
her  birth,  nor  her  rank,  nor  her  connections  by 

time,  he  was  constantly  haunted  by  the  idea  of  his  mother-in- 
law,  —  taking  every  one  that  came  near  him  for  her,  and  re- 
proaching those  about  him  for  letting  her  enter  his  room. 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  259 

birth  or  marriage  are  inferior  to  my  own,  I  am  in 
honour  bound  to  support  her  through.  Besides,  she 
is  a  very  pretty  woman  —  ask  Moore — and  not  yet 
one  and  twenty. 

"  If  she  gets  over  this  and  I  get  over  my  tertian, 
I  will,  perhaps,  look  in  at  Albemarle  Street,  some  of 
these  days,  en  passant  to  Bolivar." 

LETTER  347.        TO  MR.  BANKES. 

"  Venice,  November  20.  1819. 

"  A  tertian  ague  which  has  troubled  me  for  some 
time,  and  the  indisposition  of  my  daughter,  have  pre- 
vented me  from  replying  before  to  your  welcome 
letter.  I  have  not  been  ignorant  of  your  progress 
nor  of  your  discoveries,  and  I  trust  that  you  are  no 
worse  in  health  from  your  labours.  You  may  rely 
upon  finding  every  body  in  England  eager  to  reap 
the  fruits  of  them  ;  and  as  you  have  done  more  than 
other  men,  I  hope  you  will  not  limit  yourself  to  say- 
ing less  than  may  do  justice  to  the  talents  and  time 
you  have  bestowed  on  your  perilous  researches. 
The  first  sentence  of  my  letter  will  have  explained 
to  you  why  I  cannot  join  you  at  Trieste.  I  was  on 
the  point  of  setting  out  for  England  (before  I  knew 
of  your  arrival)  when  my  child's  illness  has  made  her 
and  me  dependent  on  a  Venetian  Proto-Medico. 

"  It  is  now  seven  years  since  you  and  I  met ;  — 
which  time  you  have  employed  better  for  others 
and  more  honourably  for  yourself  than  I  have  done. 

"  In  England  you  will  find  considerable  changes, 
public  and  private, — you  will  see  some  of  our  old 

a  9. 

260  NOTICES    OF    THE  1810. 

college  contemporaries  turned  into  lords  of  the 
Treasury,  Admiralty,  and  the  like,  —  others  become 
reformers  and  orators,  —  many  settled  in  life,  as 
it  is  called, — and  others  settled  in  death;  among 
the  latter,  (by  the  way,  not  our  fellow  colle- 
gians,) Sheridan,  Curran,  Lady  Melbourne,  Monk 
Lewis,  Frederick  Douglas,  &c.  &c.  &c. ;  but  you 
will  still  find  Mr.  »  *  living  and  all  his  family,  as 
also  *****. 

"  Should  you  come  up  this  way,  and  I  am  still 
here,  you  need  not  be  assured  how  glad  I  shall  be 
to  see  you ;  I  long  to  hear  some  part  from  you,  of 
that  which  I  expect  in  no  long  time  to  see.  At 
length  you  have  had  better  fortune  than  any  tra- 
veller of  equal  enterprise  (except  Humboldt),  in 
returning  safe ;  and  after  the  fate  of  the  Brownes, 
and  the  Parkes,  and  the  Burckhardts,  it  is  hardly  less 
surprise  than  satisfaction  to  get  you  back  again. 
"  Believe  me  ever 

"  And  very  affectionately  yours, 

«  BYRON." 

LETTER  348.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Venice,  December  4.  1819. 

"  You  may  do  as  you  please,  but  you  are  about  a 
hopeless  experiment.  Eldon  will  decide  against 
you,  were  it  only  that  my  name  is  in  the  record. 
You  will  also  recollect  that  if  the  publication  is 
pronounced  against,  on  the  grounds  you  mention, 
as  indecent  and  blasphemous,  that  /  lose  all  right  in 
my  daughter's  guardianship  and  education,  in  short, 
all  paternal  authority,  and  every  thing  concerning 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  261 

her,  except  ******** 
It  was  so  decided  in  Shelley's  case,  because  he  had 
written  Queen  Mab,  &c.  &c.  However,  you  can 
ask  the  lawyers,  and  do  as  you  like :  I  do  not  inhibit 
you  trying  the  question ;  I  merely  state  one  of  the 
consequences  to  me.  With  regard  to  the  copyright, 
it  is  hard  that  you  should  pay  for  a  nonentity :  I 
will  therefore  refund  it,  which  I  can  very  well  do, 
not  having  spent  it,  nor  begun  upon  it ;  and  so  we 
will  be  quits  on  that  score.  It  lies  at  my  banker's. 

"  Of  the  Chancellor's  law  I  am  no  judge ;  but  take 
up  Tom  Jones,  and  read  his  Mrs.  Waters  and  Molly 
Seagrim ;  or  Prior's  Hans  Carvel  and  Paulo  Pur- 
ganti :  Smollett's  Roderick  Random,  the  chapter  of 
Lord  Strutwell,  and  many  others ;  Peregrine  Pickle, 
the  scene  of  the  Beggar  Girl ;  Johnson's  London^  for 
coarse  expressions ;  for  instance,  the  words  '  *  *,' 
and  '  *  *;'  Anstey's  Bath  Guide,  the  *  Hearken, 
Lady  Betty,  hearken ;' — take  up,  in  short,  Pope, 
Prior,  Congreve,  Dryden,  Fielding,  Smollett,  and 
let  the  counsel  select  passages,  and  what  becomes 
of  their  copyright,  if  his  Wat  Tyler  decision  is  to 
pass  into  a  precedent?  I  have  nothing  more  to  say : 
you  must  judge  for  yourselves. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  some  time  ago.  I  have  had  a 
tertian  ague ;  my  daughter  Allegra  has  been  ill  also, 
and  I  have  been  almost  obliged  to  run  away  with  a 
married  woman ;  but  with  some  difficulty,  and  many 
internal  struggles,  I  reconciled  the  lady  with  her 
lord,  and  cured  the  fever  of  the  child  with  bark,  and 
my  own  with  cold  water.  I  think  of  setting  out  for 
England  by  the  Tyrol  in  a  few  days,  so  that  I  could 
s  3 

262  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

wish  you  to  direct  your  next  letter  to  Calais. 
Excuse  my  writing  in  great  haste  and  late  in  the 
morning,  or  night,  whichever  you  please  to  call  it. 
The  third  Canto  of  '  Don  Juan'  is  completed,  in 
about  two  hundred  stanzas ;  very  decent,  I  believe, 
but  do  not  know,  and  it  is  useless  to  discuss  until  it 
be  ascertained  if  it  may  or  may  not  be  a  property. 

"  My  present  determination  to  quit  Italy  was 
unlocked  for ;  but  I  have  explained  the  reasons  in 
letters  to  my  sister  and  Douglas  Kinnaird,  a  week  or 
two  ago.  My  progress  will  depend  upon  the  snows 
of  the  Tyrol,  and  the  health  of  my  child,  who  is  at 
present  quite  recovered ;  but  I  hope  to  get  on  well, 
and  am 

"  Yours  ever  and  truly. 

"  P.  S.  Many  thanks  for  your  letters,  to  which 
you  are  not  to  consider  this  as  an  answer,  but  as  an 
acknowledgment. " 

The  struggle  which,  at  the  time  of  my  visit  to 
him,  I  had  found  Lord  Byron  so  well  disposed  to 
make  towards  averting,  as  far  as  now  lay  in  his 
power,  some  of  the  mischievous  consequences  which, 
both  to  the  object  of  his  attachment  and  himself, 
were  likely  to  result  from  their  connection,  had  been 
brought,  as  the  foregoing  letters  show,  to  a  crisis 
soon  after  I  left  him.  The  Count  Guiccioli,  on  his 
arrival  at  Venice,  insisted,  as  we  have  seen,  that  his 
lady  should  return  with  him ;  and,  after  some  con- 
jugal negotiations,  in  which  Lord  Byron  does  not 
appear  to  have  interfered,  the  young  Contessa  con- 
sented reluctantly  to  accompany  her  lord  to  Ravenna, 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  2G3 

it  being  first  covenanted  that,  in  future,  all  communi- 
cation between  her  and  her  lover  should  cease. 

"  In  a  few  days  after  this,"  says  Mr.  Hoppner,  in 
some  notices  of  his  noble  friend  with  which  he  has 
favoured  me,  "  he  returned  to  Venice,  very  much 
out  of  spirits,  owing  to  Madame  Guiccioli's  departure, 
and  out  of  humour  with  every  body  and  every  thing 
around  him.  We  resumed  our  rides  at  the  Lido; 
and  I  did  my  best  not  only  to  raise  his  spirits,  but 
to  make  him  forget  his  absent  mistress,  and  to  keep 
him  to  his  purpose  of  returning  to  England.  He 
went  into  no  society;  and  having  no  longer  any 
relish  for  his  former  occupation,  his  time,  when  he 
was  not  writing,  hung  heavy  enough  on  hand." 

The  promise  given  by  the  lovers  not  to  correspond 
was,  as  all  parties  must  have  foreseen,  soon  violated ; 
and  the  letters  Lord  Byron  addressed  to  the  lady, 
at  this  time,  though  written  in  a  language  not  his 
own,  are  rendered  frequently  even  eloquent  by  the 
mere  force  of  the  feeling  that  governed  him — a 
feeling  which  could  not  have  owed  its  fuel  to  fancy 
alone,  since  now  that  reality  had  been  so  long  sub- 
stituted, it  still  burned  on.  From  one  of  these 
letters,  dated  November  25th,  I  shall  so  far  pre- 
sume upon  the  discretionary  power  vested  in  me, 
as  to  lay  a  short  extract  or  two  before  the  reader — 
not  merely  as  matters  of  curiosity,  but  on  account 
of  the  strong  evidence  they  afford  of  the  struggle 
between  passion  and  a  sense  of  right  that  now 
agitated  him. 

"  You  are,"  he  says,  "  and  ever  will  be,  my  first 
thought.    But,  at  this  moment,  I  am  in  a  state  most 
s  4? 

264?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

dreadful,  not  knowing  which  way  to  decide; — on 
the  one  hand,  fearing  that  I  should  compromise  you 
for  ever,  by  my  return  to  Ravenna  and  the  conse- 
quences of  such  a  step,  and,  on  the  other,  dreading 
that  I  shall  lose  both  you  and  myself,  and  all  that  I 
have  ever  known  or  tasted  of  happiness,  by  never 
seeing  you  more.  I  pray  of  you,  I  implore  you  to 
be  comforted,  and  to  believe  that  I  cannot  cease  to 
love  you  but  with  my  life."  *  In  another  part  he 
says,  "  I  go  to  save  you,  and  leave  a  country 
insupportable  to  me  without  you.  Your  letters  to 
F  *  *  and  myself  do  wrong  to  my  motives — but  you 
will  yet  see  your  injustice.  It  is  not  enough  that  I 
must  leave  you  —  from  motives  of  which  ere  long 
you  will  be  convinced — it  is  not  enough  that  I 
must  fly  from  Italy,  with  a  heart  deeply  wounded, 
after  having  passed  all  my  days  in  solitude  since 
your  departure,  sick  both  in  body  and  mind — but  I 
must  also  have  to  endure  your  reproaches  without 
answering  and  without  deserving  them.  Farewell ! 
in  that  one  word  is  comprised  the  death  of  my 
happiness. "  f 

*  "  Tu  sei,  e  sarai  sempre  mio  primo  pensier.  Ma  in 
questo  momenta  sono  in  un'  stato  orribile  non  sapendo  cosa 
decidere ;  —  temendo,  da  una  parte,  comprometterti  in  eterno 
col  mio  ritorno  a  Ravenna,  e  colle  sue  consequenze;  e,  dal* 
altra  perderti,  e  me  stesso,  e  tutto  quel  che  ho  conosciuto  o 
gustato  di  felicita,  nel  non  vederti  piu.  Ti  prego,  ti  supplico 
calmarti,  e  credere  che  non  posso  cessare  ad  amarti  che  colla 

f  "  .to  parto,  per  salvarti,  e  lascio  un  paese  divenuto  insop- 
portabile  senza  di  te.  Le  tue  lettere  alia  F  *  *,  ed  anche  a  me 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  265 

He  had  now  arranged  every  thing  for  his  depar- 
ture for  England,  and  had  even  fixed  the  day,  when 
accounts  reached  him  from  Ravenna  that  the  Con- 
tessa  was  alarmingly  ill ; — her  sorrow  at  their  separ- 
ation having  so  much  preyed  upon  her  mind,  that 
even  her  own  family,  fearful  of  the  consequences, 
had  withdrawn  all  opposition  to  her  wishes,  and 
now,  with  the  sanction  of  Count  Guiccioli  himself, 
entreated  her  lover  to  hasten  to  Ravenna.  What 
was  he,  in  this  dilemma,  to  do  ?  Already  had  he 
announced  his  coming  to  different  friends  in  England, 
and  every  dictate,  he  felt,  of  prudence  and  manly 
fortitude  urged  his  departure.  While  thus  balancing 
between  duty  and  inclination,  the  day  appointed  for 
his  setting  out  arrived;  and  the  following  picture, 
from  the  life,  of  his  irresolution  on  the  occasion,  is 
from  a  letter  written  by  a  female  friend  of  Madame 
Guiccioli,  who  was  present  at  the  scene : — "  He  was 
ready  dressed  for  the  journey,  his  gloves  and  cap  on, 
and  even  his  little  cane  in  his  hand.  Nothing  was 

stesso  fanno  torto  ai  miei  motivi ;  ma  col  tempo  vedrai  la  tua 
ingiustizia.  Tu  parli  del  dolor  —  io  lo  sento,  ma  mi  mancano 
le  parole.  Non  basta  lasciarti  per  del  motivi  dei  quali  tu  eri 
persuasa  (non  molto  tempo  fa)  —  non  basta  partire  dall*  Italia 
col  cuore  lacerato,  dopo  aver  passato  tutti  i  giorni  dopo  la 
tua  partenza  nella  solitudine,  ammalato  di  corpo  e  di  anima  — 
ma  ho  anche  a  sopportare  i  tuoi  rimproveri,  senza  replicarti, 
e  senza  meritarli.  Addio  —  in  quella  parola  e  compresa  la 
morte  di  mia  felicita." 

The  close  of  this  last  sentence  exhibits  one  of  the  very  few 
instances  of  incorrectness  that  Lord  Byron  falls  into  in  these 
letters;  —  the  proper  construction  being  "della  mia  felicita." 

266  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

now  waited  for  but  his  coming  down  stairs, — his 
boxes  being  already  all  on  board  the  gondola.  At 
this  moment,  my  Lord,  byway  of  pretext,  declares, 
that  if  it  should  strike  one  o'clock  before  every 
thing  was  in  order  (his  arms  being  the  only  thing 
not  yet  quite  ready),  he  would  not  go  that  day. 
The  hour  strikes,  and  he  remains ! "  * 

The  writer  adds,  "  it  is  evident  he  has  not  the 
heart  to  go ;"  and  the  result  proved  that  she  had 
not  judged  him  wrongly.  The  very  next  day's 
tidings  from  Ravenna  decided  his  fate,  and  he 
himself,  in  a  letter  to  the  Contessa,  thus  announces 
the  triumph  which  she  had  achieved.  "  F  *  *  * 
will  already  have  told  you,  with  her  accustomed 
sublimity,  that  Love  has  gained  the  victory.  I 
could  not  summon  up  resolution  enough  to  leave 
the  country  where  you  are,  without,  at  least,  once 
more  seeing  you.  On  yourself,  perhaps,  it  will 
depend,  whether  I  ever  again  shall  leave  you.  Of 
the  rest  we  shall  speak  when  we  meet.  You  ought, 
by  this  time,  to  know  which  is  most  conducive  to 
your  welfare,  my  presence  or  my  absence.  For 
myself,  I  am  a  citizen  of  the  world — all  countries 
are  alike  to  me.  You  have  ever  been,  since  our 
first  acquaintance,  the  sole  object  of  my  thougMs. 

*  "  Egli  era  tutto  vestito  di  viaggio  coi  guanti  fra  le  mani, 
col  suo  bonnet,  e  persino  colla  piccola  sua  canna ;  non  altro 
aspettavasi  che  egli  scendesse  le  scale,  tutti  i  bauli  erano  in 
barca.  Milord  fa  la  pretesta  che  se  suona  un  ora  dopo  il  mez- 
zodi  e  che  non  sia  ogni  cosa  all'  ordine  (poiche  le  arnii  sole 
non  erano  in  pronto)  egli  non  partirebbe  piu  per  quel  giorno. 
L'ora  suona  ed  egli  resta." 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD     BYRON".  267 

My  opinion  was,  that  the  best  course  I  could  adopt, 
both  for  your  peace  and  that  of  all  your  family, 
would  have  been  to  depart  and  go  far,  far  away 
from  you; — since  to  have  been  near  and  not  ap- 
proach you  would  have  been,  for  me,  impossible. 
You  have  however  decided  that  I  am  to  return  to 
Ravenna.  I  shall  accordingly  return — and  shall  do 
— and  be  all  that  you  wish.  I  cannot  say  more."  * 
On  quitting  Venice  he  took  leave  of  Mr.  Hoppner 
in  a  short  but  cordial  letter,  which  I  cannot  better 
introduce  than  by  prefixing  to  it  the  few  words  of 
comment  with  which  this  excellent  friend  of  the 
noble  poet  has  himself  accompanied  it :  —  "I  need 
not  say  with  what  painful  feeling  I  witnessed  the 
departure  of  a  person  who,  from  the  first  day  of  our 
acquaintance,  had  treated  me  with  unvaried  kind- 
ness, reposing  a  confidence  in  me  which  it  was  be- 
yond the  power  of  my  utmost  efforts  to  deserve ; 
admitting  me  to  an  intimacy  which  I  had  no  right 

*  "  La  F  *  *  ti  avra  delta,  colla  sua  solita  sublimith,  che 
1'Amor  ha  vinto.  lo  non  ho  potuto  trovare  forza  di  aniraa 
per  lasciare  il  paese  dove  tu  sei,  senza  vederti  almeno  un'  altra 
volta :  —  forse  dipendera  da  te  se  mai  ti  lascio  piu.  Per  il 
resto  parleremo.  Tu  dovresti  adesso  sapere  cosa  sara  piu  con- 
venevole  al  tuo  ben  essere  la  mia  presenza  o  la  mia  lontananza. 
lo  sono  cittadino  del  mondo  —  tutti  i  paesi  sono  eguali  per  me. 
Tu  sei  stata  sempre  (dopo  che  ci  siamo  conosciuti)  funico 
oggetto  di  miei  pensieri.  Credeva  che  il  miglior  partito  per  la 
pace  tua  e  la  pace  di  tua  famiglia  fosse  il  mio  partire,  e  andare 
ben  lontano ;  poiche"  stare  vicino  e  non  avvicinarti  sarebbe  per 
me  impossibile.  Ma  tu  hai  deciso  che  io  debbo  ritornare  a 
Ravenna  —  tornaro  —  e  faro  —  e  saro  cio  che  tu  vuoi.  Non 
posso  dirti  di  piu." 

268  •       NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

to  claim,  and  listening  with  patience,  and  the  great- 
est good  temper,  to  the  remonstrances  I  ventured 
to  make  upon  his  conduct." 

LETTER  349.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  My  dear  Hoppner, 

"  Partings  are  but  bitter  work  at  best,  so  that  I 
shall  not  venture  on  a  second  with  you.  Pray  make 
my  respects  to  Mrs.  Hoppner,  and  assure  her  of  my 
unalterable  reverence  for  the  singular  goodness  of 
her  disposition,  which  is  not  without  its  reward  even 
in  this  world  —  for  those  who  are  no  great  believers 
in  human  virtues  would  discover  enough  in  her  to 
give  them  a  better  opinion  of  their  fellow-creatures 
and  —  what  is  still  more  difficult  —  of  themselves, 
as  being  of  the  same  species,  however  inferior  in 
approaching  its  nobler  models.  Make,  too,  what 
excuses  you  can  for  my  omission  of  the  ceremony 
of  leave-taking.  If  we  all  meet  again,  I  will  make 
my  humblest  apology ;  if  not,  recollect  that  I  wished 
you  all  well ;  and,  if  you  can,  forget  that  I  have 
given  you  a  great  deal  of  trouble. 

"  Yours,"  &c.  &c. 

LETTER  350.         TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Venice,  December  10.  1819. 

"  Since  I  last  wrote,  I  have  changed  my  mind, 
and  shall  not  come  to  England.  The  more  I  con- 
template, the  more  I  dislike  the  place  and  the  pro- 
spect. You  may,  therefore,  address  to  me  as  usual 
here,  though  I  mean  to  go  to  another  city.  I  have 

1819.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  269 

finished  the  third  Canto  of  Don  Juan,  but  the  things 
I  have  read  and  heard  discourage  all  further  publi- 
cation —  at  least  for  the  present.  You  may  try  the 
copy  question,  but  you'll  lose  it :  the  cry  is  up,  and 
cant  is  up.  I  should  have  no  objection  to  return 
the  price  of  the  copyright,  and  have  written  to 
Mr.  Kinnaird  by  this  post  on  the  subject.  Talk 
with  him. 

"  I  have  not  the  patience,  nor  do  I  feel  interest 
enough  in  the  question,  to  contend  with  the  fellows 
in  their  own  slang ;  but  I  perceive  Mr.  Blackwood's 
Magazine  and  one  or  two  others  of  your  missives 
have  been  hyperbolical  in  their  praise,  and  diabolical 
in  their  abuse.  I  like  and  admire  W  *  *  n,  and 
he  should  not  have  indulged  himself  in  such  out- 
rageous licence.*  It  is  overdone  and  defeats  itself. 
What  would  he  say  to  the  grossness  without  passion 
and  the  misanthropy  without  feeling  of  Gulliver's 
Travels  ? — When  he  talks  of  Lady's  Byron's  business, 
he  talks  of  what  he  knows  nothing  about ;  and  you 
may  tell  him  that  no  one  can  more  desire  a  public 
investigation  of  that  affair  than  I  do. 

"  I  sent  home  by  Moore  (for  Moore  only,  who 
has  my  Journal  also)  my  Memoir  written  up  to  1816, 
and  I  gave  him  leave  to  show  it  to  whom  he  pleased, 

*  This  is  one  of  the  many  mistakes  into  which  his  distance 
from  the  scene  of  literary  operations  led  him.  The  gentleman, 
to  whom  the  hostile  article  in  the  Magazine  is  here  attributed, 
has  never,  either  then  or  since,  written  upon  the  subject  of  the 
noble  poet's  character  or  genius,  without  giving  vent  to  a  feel- 
ing of  admiration  as  enthusiastic  as  it  is  always  eloquently  and 
powerfully  expressed. 

270  NOTICES    OF    THE  1819. 

but  not  to  publish,  on  any  account.  You  may  read 
it,  and  you  may  let  W  *  *  n  read  it,  if  he  likes  —  not 
for  his  public  opinion,  but  his  private ;  for  I  like  the 
man,  and  care  very  little  about  his  Magazine.  And 
I  could  wish  Lady  B.  herself  to  read  it,  that  she 
may  have  it  in  her  power  to  mark  any  thing  mis- 
taken or  mis-stated  ;  as  it  may  probably  appear  after 
my  extinction,  and  it  would  be  but  fair  she  should 
see  it,  —  that  is  to  say,  herself  willing. 

"  Perhaps  I  may  take  a  journey  to  you  in  the 
spring;  but  I  have  been  ill  and  am  indolent  and 
indecisive,  because  few  things  interest  me.  These 
fellows  first  abused  me  for  being  gloomy,  and  now 
they  are  wroth  that  I  am,  or  attempted  to  be,  face- 
tious. I  have  got  such  a  cold  and  headach  that  I 
can  hardly  see  what  I  scrawl :  —  the  winters  here 
are  as  sharp  as  needles.  Some  time  ago,  I  wrote  to 
you  rather  fully  about  my  Italian  affairs  ;  at  present 
I  can  say  no  more  except  that  you  shall  hear  further 
by  and  by. 

"  Your  Blackwood  accuses  me  of  treating  women 
harshly :  it  may  be  so,  but  I  have  been  their  martyr ; 
my  whole  life  has  been  sacrificed  to  them  and  by 
them.  I  mean  to  leave  Venice  in  a  few  days,  but 
you  will  address  your  letters  here  as  usual.  When 
I  fix  elsewhere,  you  shall  know." 

Soon  after  this  letter  to  Mr.  Murray  he  set  out 
for  Ravenna,  from  which  place  we  shall  find  his  cor- 
respondence for  the  next  year  and  a  half  dated.  For 
a  short  time  after  his  arrival,  he  took  up  his  residence 
at  an  inn ;  but  the  Count  Guiccioli  having  allowed 

1819.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  271 

him  to  hire  a  suite  of  apartments  in  the  Palazzo 
Guiccioli  itself,  he  was  once  more  lodged  under  the 
same  roof  with  the  Countess  Guiccioli. 

LETTER  351.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Ravenna,  Dec.  31.  1819. 

"  I  have  been  here  this  week,  and  was  obliged  to 
put  on  my  armour  and  go  the  night  after  my  arrival 
to  the  Marquis  Cavalli's,  where  there  were  between 
two  and  three  hundred  of  the  best  company  I  have 
seen  in  Italy,  —  more  beauty,  more  youth,  and  more 
diamonds  among  the  women  than  have  been  seen 
these  fifty  years  in  the  Sea- Sodom.*  I  never  saw 
such  a  difference  between  two  places  of  the  same 
latitude,  (or platitude,  it  is  all  one,) — music,  dancing, 
and  play,  all  in  the  same  salle.  The  G.'s  object 
appeared  to  be  to  parade  her  foreign  friend  as  much 
as  possible,  and,  faith,  if  she  seemed  to  glory  in 
so  doing,  it  was  not  for  me  to  be  ashamed  of  it. 
Nobody  seemed  surprised;  —  all  the  women,  on  the 
contrary,  were,  as  it  were,  delighted  with  the  ex- 
cellent example.  The  vice-legate,  and  all  the  other 
vices,  were  as  polite  as  could  be  ;  —  and  I,  who  had 
acted  on  the  reserve,  was  fairly  obliged  to  take  the 
lady  under  my  arm,  and  look  as  much  like  a  cicisbeo 
as  I  could  on  so  short  a  notice,  —  to  say  nothing 
of  the  embarrassment  of  a  cocked  hat  and  sword, 
much  more  formidable  to  me  than  ever  it  will  be  to 
the  enemy. 

*  "  Gehenna  of  the  waters  !  thou  Sea- Sodom  1  " 


272  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

"  I  write  in  great  haste  —  do  you  answer  as 
hastily.  I  can  understand  nothing  of  all  this ;  but  it 
seems  as  if  the  G.  had  been  presumed  to  be  planted^ 
and  was  determined  to  show  that  she  was  not,  — 
plantation,  in  this  hemisphere,  being  the  greatest 
moral  misfortune.  But  this  is  mere  conjecture,  for  I 
know  nothing  about  it  —  except  that  every  body 
are  very  kind  to  her,  and  not  discourteous  to  me. 
Fathers,  and  all  relations,  quite  agreeable. 

"  Yours  ever, 


"  P.  S.  Best  respects  to  Mrs.  H. 

"  I  would  send  the  compliments  of  the  season ; 
but  the  season  itself  is  so  complimentary  with  snow 
and  rain  that  I  wait  for  sunshine." 

LETTER  352.          TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  January  2.  1820. 
"  My  dear  Moore, 

"  '  To-day  it  is  my  wedding  day ; 

And  all  the  folks  would  stare, 
If  wife  should  dine  at  Edmonton, 

And  I  should  dine  at  Ware.' 
Or  thus  : 

"  Here's  a  happy  new  year  !  but  with  reason, 

I  beg  you'll  permit  me  to  say  — 
Wish  me  many  returns  of  the  season, 
But  as  few  as  you  please  of  the  day. 

"  My  this  present  writing  is  to  direct  you  that, 
if  she  chooses,  she  may  see  the  MS.  Memoir  in  your 
possession.  I  wish  her  to  have  fair  play,  in  all 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  273 

cases,  even  though  it  will  not  be  published  till  after 
my  decease.  For  this  purpose,  it  were  but  just  that 
Lady  B.  should  know  what  is  there  said  of  her  and 
hers,  that  she  may  have  full  power  to  remark  on  or 
respond  to  any  part  or  parts,  as  may  seem  fitting 
to  herself.  This  is  fair  dealing,  I  presume,  in  all 

"  To  change  the  subject,  are  you  in  England  ?  I 
send  you  an  epitaph  for  Castlereagh.  ***** 
Another  for  Pitt :  — 

"  With  death  doom'd  to  grapple 

Beneath  this  cold  slab,  he 
Who  lied  in  the  Chapel 
Now  lies  in  the  Abbey. 

"  The  gods  seem  to  have  made  me  poetical  this 
day:  — 

"  In  digging  up  your  bones,  Tom  Paine, 

Will.  Cobbett  has  done  well : 
You  visit  him  on  earth  again, 

He'll  visit  you  in  hell. 

"  You  come  to  him  on  earth  again, 
He'll  go  with  you  to  hell. 

"  Pray  let  not  these  versiculi  go  forth  with  my 
name,  except  among  the  initiated,  because  my  friend 
H.  has  foamed  into  a  reformer,  and,  I  greatly  fear, 
will  subside  into  Newgate ;  since  the  Honourable 
House,  according  to  Galignani's  Reports  of  Parlia- 
mentary Debates,  are  menacing  a  prosecution  to 
a  pamphlet  of  his.  I  shall  be  very  sorry  to  hear  of 
any  thing  but  good  for  him,  particularly  in  these 

VOL.  IV.  T 

274?  NOTICES    OF    THE  182O. 

miserable  squabbles;  but  tbese  are  the  natural 
effects  of  taking  a  part  in  them. 

"  For  my  own  part  I  had  a  sad  scene  since  you 
went.  Count  Gu.  came  for  his  wife,  and  none  of 
those  consequences  which  Scott  prophesied  ensued. 
There  was  no  damages,  as  in  England,  and  so  Scott 
lost  his  wager.  But  there  was  a  great  scene,  for  she 
would  not,  at  first,  go  back  with  him  —  at  least,  she 
did  go  back  with  him ;  but  he  insisted,  reasonably 
enough,  that  all  communication  should  be  broken 
off  between  her  and  me.  So,  finding  Italy  very 
dull,  and  having  a  fever  tertian,  I  packed  up  my 
valise,  and  prepared  to  cross  the  Alps  ;  but  my 
daughter  fell  ill,  and  detained  me. 

"  After  her  arrival  at  Ravenna,  the  Guiccioli  fell 
ill  again  too ;  and  at  last,  her  father  (who  had,  all 
along,  opposed  the  liaison  most  violently  till  now) 
wrote  to  me  to  say  that  she  was  in  such  a  state  that 
he  begged  me  to  come  and  see  her,  —  and  that  her 
husband  had  acquiesced,  in  consequence  of  her 
relapse,  and  that  he  (her  father)  would  guarantee  all 
this,  and  that  there  would  be  no  farther  scenes  in 
consequence  between  them,  and  that  I  should  not 
be  compromised  in  any  way.  I  set  out  soon  after, 
and  have  been  here  ever  since.  I  found  her  a  good 
deal  altered,  but  getting  better  :  —  all  this  comes  of 
reading  Corinna. 

"  The  Carnival  is  about  to  begin,  and  I  saw  about 
two  or  three  hundred  people  at  the  Marquis  Cavalli's 
the  other  evening,  with  as  much  youth,  beauty,  and 
diamonds  among  the  women,  as  ever  averaged  in 
the  like  number.  My  appearance  in  waiting  on  the 
Guiccioli  was  considered  as  a  thing  of  course.  The 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  275 

Marquis  is  her  uncle,  and  naturally  considered  me 
as  her  relation. 

"  The  paper  is  out,  and  so  is  the  letter.  Pray 
write.  Address  to  Venice,  whence  the  letters  will 
be  forwarded.  Yours,  &c»  B." 

LETTER  353.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

«*  Ravenna,  January  2O.  1820. 

"  I  have  not  decided  any  thing  about  remaining 
at  Ravenna.  I  may  stay  a  day,  a  week,  a  year,  all 
my  life ;  but  all  this  depends  upon  what  I  can  neither 
see  nor  foresee.  I  came  because  I  was  called,  and 
will  go  the  moment  that  I  perceive  what  may  render 
my  departure  proper.  My  attachment  has  neither 
the  blindness  of  the  beginning,  nor  the  microscopic 
accuracy  of  the  close  to  such  liaisons ;  but  '  time 
and  the  hour '  must  decide  upon  what  I  do.  I  can 
as  yet  say  nothing,  because  I  hardly  know  any  thing 
beyond  what  I  -have  told  you. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  last  post  for  my  movables,  as 
there  is  no  getting  a  lodging  with  a  chair  or  table 
here  ready ;  and  as  I  have  already  some  things  of 
the  sort  at  Bologna  which  I  had  last  summer  there 
for  my  daughter,  I  have  directed  them  to  be  moved  ; 
and  wish  the  like  to  be  done  with  those  of  Venice, 
that  I  may  at  least  get  out  of  the  *  Albergo  Im- 
periale,'  which  is  imperial  in  all  true  sense  of  the 
epithet.  Buffini  may  be  paid  for  his  poison.  I  forgot 
to  thank  you  and  Mrs.  Hoppner  fora  whole  treasure 
of  toys  for  Allegra  before  our  departure  ;  it  was  very 
kind,  and  we  are  very  grateful. 
T  2 

276  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

"  Your  account  of  the  weeding  of  the  Governor's 
party  is  very  entertaining.  If  you  do  not  understand 
the  consular  exceptions,  I  do;  and  it  is  right  that  a 
man  of  honour,  and  a  woman  of  probity,  should  find 
it  so,  particularly  in  a  place  where  there  are  not 
1  ten  righteous.'  As  to  nobility  —  in  England  none 
are  strictly  noble  but  peers,  not  even  peers'  sons, 
though  titled  by  courtesy  ;  nor  knights  of  the  garter, 
unless  of  the  peerage,  so  that  Castlereagh  himself 
would  hardly  pass  through  a  foreign  herald's  ordeal 
till  the  death  of  his  father. 

"  The  snow  is  a  foot  deep  here.  There  is  a 
theatre,  and  opera,  —  the  Barber  of  Seville.  Balls 
begin  on  Monday  next.  Pay  the  porter  for  never 
looking  after  the  gate,  and  ship  my  chattels,  and  let 
me  know,  or  let  Castelli  let  me  know,  how  my  law- 
suits go  on  —  but  fee  him  only  in  proportion  to  his 
success.  Perhaps  we  may  meet  in  the  spring  yet, 
if  you  are  for  England.  I  see  H  *  *  has  got  into  a 
scrape,  which  does  not  please  me ;  he  should  not 
have  gone  so  deep  among  those  men  without  calcu- 
lating the  consequences.  I  used  to  think  myself 
the  most  imprudent  of  all  among  my  friends  and 
acquaintances,  but  almost  begin  to  doubt  it. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  354.      TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Ravenna,  January  31.  1820. 

"  You  would  hardly  have  been  troubled  with  the 
removal  of  my  furniture,  but  there  is  none  to  be  had 
nearer  than  Bologna,  and  I  have  been  fain  to  have 

182O.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  277 

that  of  the  rooms  which  I  fitted  up  for  my  daughter 
there  in  the  summer  removed  here.  The  expense  will 
be  at  least  as  great  of  the  land  carnage,  so  that  you 
see  it  was  necessity,  and  not  choice.  Here  they  get 
every  thing  from  Bologna,  except  some  lighter  arti- 
cles from  Forli  or  Faenza. 

"  If  Scott  is  returned,  pray  remember  me  to  him, 
and  plead  laziness  the  whole  and  sole  cause  of  my 
not  replying  :  —  dreadful  is  the  exertion  of  letter- 
writing.  The  Carnival  here  is  less  boisterous,  but 
we  have  balls  and  a  theatre.  I  carried  Bankes  to 
both,  and  he  carried  away,  I  believe,  a  much  more 
favourable  impression  of  the  society  here  than  of 
that  of  Venice,  —  recollect  that  I  speak  of  the  native 
society  only. 

"  I  am  drilling  very  hard  to  learn  how  to  double 
a  shawl,  and  should  succeed  to  admiration  if  I  did 
not  always  double  it  the  wrong  side  out ;  and  then  I 
sometimes  confuse  and  bring  away  two,  so  as  to  put 
all  the  Servanti  out,  besides  keeping  their  Servile  in 
the  cold  till  every  body  can  get  back  their  property. 
But  it  is  a  dreadfully  moral  place,  for  you  must  not 
look  at  anybody's  wife  except  your  neighbour's,  — 
if  you  go  to  the  next  door  but  one,  you  are  scolded, 
and  presumed  to  be  perfidious.  And  then  a  rela- 
zione  or  an  amicizia  seems  to  be  a  regular  affair  of 
from  five  to  fifteen  years,  at  which  period,  if  there 
occur  a  widowhood,  it  finishes  by  a  sposalizio  ;  and 
in  the  mean  time  it  has  so  many  rules  of  its  own  that 
it  is  not  much  better.  A  man  actually  becomes  a 
piece  of  female  property,  —  they  won't  let  their 
Serventi  marry  until  there  is  a  vacancy  for  them- 
T  3 

278  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

selves.  I  know  two  instances  of  this  in  one  family 

"  To-night  there  was  a *  Lottery  after  the 

opera ;  it  is  an  odd  ceremony.  Bankes  and  I  took 
tickets  of  it,  and  buffooned  together  very  merrily. 
He  is  gone  to  Firenze.  Mrs.  J  *  *  should  have 
sent  you  my  postscript ;  there  was  no  occasion  to 
have  bored  you  in  person.  I  never  interfere  in  any- 
body's squabbles,  —  she  may  scratch  your  face  her- 

"  The  weather  here  has  been  dreadful  —  snow 
several  feet  —  a  Jiume,  broke  down  a  bridge,  and 
flooded  heaven  knows  how  many  campi  ;  then  rain 
came  —  and  it  is  still  thawing  —  so  that  my  saddle- 
horses  have  a  sinecure  till  the  roads  become  more 
practicable.  Why  did  Lega  give  away  the  goat  ?  a 
blockhead  —  I  must  have  him  again. 

"  Will  you  pay  Missiaglia  and  the  Buffo  Buffini  of 
the  Gran  Bretagna  ?  I  heard  from  Moore,  who  is  at 
Paris ;  I  had  previously  written  to  him  in  London, 
but  he  has  not  yet  got  my  letter,  apparently. 

"  Believe  me,"  &c. 

LETTER  355.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  February  7.  1820. 

"  I  have  had  no  letter  from  you  these  two  months ; 
but  since  I  came  here  in  December,  1819,  I  sent 
you  a  letter  for  Moore,  who  is  God  knows  where  — 

*  The  word  here,  being  under  the  seal,  is  illegible. 


LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  279 

in  Paris  or  London,  I  presume.  I  have  copied  and 
cut  the  third  Canto  of  Don  Juan  into  two,  because  it 
was  too  long  ;  and  I  tell  you  this  beforehand,  because 
in  case  of  any  reckoning  between  you  and  me,  these 
two  are  only  to  go  for  one,  as  this  was  the  original 
form,  and,  in  fact,  the  two  together  are  not  longer 
than  one  of  the  first :  so  remember  that  I  have  not 
made  this  division  to  double  upon  you  ;  but  merely 
to  suppress  some  tediousness  in  the  aspect  of  the 
thing.  I  should  have  served  you  a  pretty  trick  if  I 
had  sent  you,  for  example,  cantos  of  50  stanzas 

"  I  am  translating  the  first  Canto  of  Pulci's  Mor- 
gante  Maggiore,  and  have  half  done  it ;  but  these 
last  days  of  the  Carnival  confuse  and  interrupt  every 

"  I  have  not  yet  sent  off  the  Cantos,  and  have 
some  doubt  whether  they  ought  to  be  published,  for 
they  have  not  the  spirit  of  the  first.  The  outcry 
has  not  frightened  but  it  has  hurt  me,  and  I  have  not 
written  con  amore  this  time.  It  is  very  decent,  how- 
ever, and  as  dull  as  '  the  last  new  comedy.' 

"  I  think  my  translations  of  Pulci  will  make  you 
stare.  It  must  be  put  by  the  original,  stanza  for 
stanza,  and  verse  for  verse  ;  and  you  will  see  what 
was  permitted  in  a  Catholic  country  and  a  bigoted 
age  to  a  churchman,  on  the  score  of  religion ;  —  and 
so  tell  those  buffoons  who  accuse  me  of  attacking  the 

"  I  write  in  the  greatest  haste,  it  being  the  hour 
of  the  Corso,  and  I  must  go  and  buffoon  with  the 
rest.  My  daughter  Allegra  is  just  gone  with  the 
T  4 

280  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

Countess  G.  in  Count  G.'s  coach  and  six  to  join  the 
cavalcade,  and  I  must  follow  with  all  the  rest  of  the 
Ravenna  world.  Our  old  Cardinal  is  dead,  and  the 
new  one  not  appointed  yet ;  but  the  masquing  goes 
on  the  same,  the  vice-legate  being  a  good  governor. 
We  have  had  hideous  frost  and  snow,  but  all  is  mild 

«  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  356.          TO  MR.  BANKES. 

"  Ravenna,  February  19.  1820. 

"  I  have  room  for  you  in  the  house  here,  as  I  had 
in  Venice,  if  you  think  fit  to  make  use  of  it;  but  do 
not  expect  to  find  the  same  gorgeous  suite  of  tapes- 
tried halls.  Neither  dangers  nor  tropical  heats  have 
ever  prevented  your  penetrating  wherever  you  had 
a  mind  to  it,  and  why  should  the  snow  now  ?  — 
Italian  snow  —  fie  on  it !  —  so  pray  come.  Tita's 
heart  yearns  for  you,  and  mayhap  for  your  silver 
broad  pieces ;  and  your  playfellow,  the  monkey,  is 
alone  and  inconsolable. 

"  I  forget  whether  you  admire  or  tolerate  red  hair, 
so  that  I  rather  dread  showing  you  all  that  I  have 
about  me  and  around  me  in  this  city.  Come,  never- 
theless, —  you  can  pay  Dante  a  morning  visit,  and  I 
will  undertake  that  Theodore  and  Honoria  will  be 
most  happy  to  see  you  in  the  forest  hard  by.  We 
Goths,  also,  of  Ravenna,  hope  you  will  not  despise 
our  arch-Goth,  Theodoric.  I  must  leave  it  to  these 
worthies  to  entertain  you  all  the  fore  part  of  the 
day,  seeing  that  I  have  none  at  all  myself —  the 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  281 

lark  that  rouses  me  from  my  slumbers,  being  an 
afternoon  bird.  But,  then,  all  your  evenings,  and  as 
much  as  you  can  give  me  of  your  nights,  will  be 
mine.  Ay !  and  you  will  find  me  eating  flesh,  too, 
like  yourself  or  any  other  cannibal,  except  it  be 
upon  Fridays.  Then,  there  are  more  Cantos  (and 
be  d — d  to  them)  of  what  the  courteous  reader,  Mr. 

S ,  calls  Grub  Street,  in  my  drawer,  which  I 

have  a  little  scheme  to  commit  to  your  charge  for 
England ;  only  I  must  first  cut  up  (or  cut  down) 
two  aforesaid  Cantos  into  three,  because  I  am  grown 
base  and  mercenary,  and  it  is  an  ill  precedent  to  let 
my  Mecaenas,  Murray,  get  too  much  for  his  money. 
I  am  busy,  also,  with  Pulci —  translating —  servilely 
translating,  stanza  for  stanza,  and  line  for  line  — 
two  octaves  every  night,  —  the  same  allowance  as  at 

"  Would  you  call  at  your  banker's  at  Bologna,  and 
ask  him  for  some  letters  lying  there  for  me,  and 
burn  them  ?  — or  I  will  —  so  do  not  burn  them,  but 
bring  them,  —  and  believe  me  ever  and  very  affec- 
tionately Yours, 

"  BYRON. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  a  particular  wish  to  hear  from  your- 
self something  about  Cyprus,  so  pray  recollect  all 
that  you  can.  —  Good  night." 

LETTER  357.         TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  February  21.  1820. 

"  The  bull-dogs  will  be  very  agreeable.  I  have 
only  those  of  this  country,  who,  though  good,  have 

282  NOTICES    OF    THE  1520 

not  the  tenacity  of  tooth  and  stoicism  in  endurance 
of  my  canine  fellow-citizens  :  then  pray  send  them 
by  the  readiest  conveyance  —  perhaps  best  by  sea. 
Mr.  Kinnaird  will  disburse  for  them,  and  deduct 
from  the  amount  on  your  application  or  that  of  Cap- 
tain Tyler. 

"  I  see  the  good  old  King  is  gone  to  his  place. 
One  can't  help  being  sorry,  though  blindness,  and 
age,  and  insanity,  are  supposed  to  be  drawbacks  on 
human  felicity ;  but  I  am  not  at  all  sure  that  the 
latter,  at  least,  might  not  render  him  happier  than 
any  of  his  subjects. 

w  I  have  no  thoughts  of  coming  to  the  coronation, 
though  I  should  like  to  see  it,  and  though  I  have  a 
right  to  be  a  puppet  in  it;  but  my  division  with 
Lady  Byron,  which  has  drawn  an  equinoctial  line 
between  me  and  mine  in  all  other  things,  will  operate 
in  this  also  to  prevent  my  being  in  the  same  proces- 

"  By  Saturday's  post  I  sent  you  four  packets,  con- 
taining Cantos  third  and  fourth.  Recollect  that 
these  two  cantos  reckon  only  as  one  with  you  and 
me,  being,  in  fact,  the  third  canto  cut  into  two,  be- 
cause I  found  it  too  long.  Remember  this,  and  don't 
imagine  that  there  could  be  any  other  motive.  The 
whole  is  about  225  stanzas,  more  or  less,  and  a  lyric 
of  96  lines,  so  that  they  are  no  longer  than  the  first 
single  cantos  :  but  the  truth  is,  that  I  made  the  first 
too  long,  and  should  have  cut  those  down  also  had  I 
thought  better.  Instead  of  saying  in  future  for  so 
many  cantos,  say  so  many  stanzas  or  pages  :  it  was 
Jacob  Tonson's  way,  and  certainly  the  best;  it 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  283 

prevents  mistakes.  I  might  have  sent  you  a  dozen 
cantos  of  40  stanzas  each,  —  those  of  '  The  Min- 
strel' (Beattie's)  are  no  longer, — and  ruined  you  at 
once,  if  you  don't  suffer  as  it  is.  But  recollect  that 
you  are  not  pinned  down  to  any  thing  you  say  in  a 
letter,  and  that,  calculating  even  these  two  cantos  as 
one  only  (which  they  were  and  are  to  be  reckoned), 
you  are  not  bound  by  your  offer.  Act  as  may  seem 
fair  to  all  parties. 

"  I  have  finished  my  translation  of  the  first  Canto 
of  *  The  Morgante  Maggiore'  of  Pulci,  which  I  will 
transcribe  and  send.  It  is  the  parent,  not  only  of 
Whistlecraft,  but  of  all  jocose  Italian  poetry.  You 
must  print  it  side  by  side  with  the  original  Italian, 
because  I  wish  the  reader  to  judge  of  the  fidelity:  it 
is  stanza  for  stanza,  and  often  line  for  line,  if  not 
word  for  word. 

"  You  ask  me  for  a  volume  of  manners,  &c.  on 
Italy.  Perhaps  I  am  in  the  case  to  know  more  of 
them  than  most  Englishmen,  because  I  have  lived 
among  the  natives,  and  in  parts  of  the  country  where 
Englishmen  never  resided  before  (I  speak  of  Ro- 
magna  and  this  place  particularly)  ;  but  there  are 
many  reasons  why  I  do  not  choose  to  treat  in  print 
on  such  a  subject.  I  have  lived  in  their  houses  and 
in  the  heart  of  their  families,  sometimes  merely  as 
*  amico  di  casa,'  and  sometimes  as  '  amico  di  cuore  * 
of  the  Dama,  and  in  neither  case  do  I  feel  myself 
authorised  in  making  a  book  of  them.  Their  moral 
is  not  your  moral ;  their  life  is  not  your  life ;  you 
would  not  understand  it ;  it  is  not  English,  nor 
French,  nor  German,  which  you  would  all  under <• 

284«  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

stand.  The  conventual  education,  the  cavalier  ser- 
vitude, the  habits  of  thought  and  living  are  so  entirely 
different,  and  the  difference  becomes  so  much  more 
striking  the  more  you  live  intimately  with  them,  that 
I  know  not  how  to  make  you  comprehend  a  people 
who  are  at  once  temperate  and  profligate,  serious  in 
their  characters  and  buffoons  in  their  amusements, 
capable  of  impressions  and  passions,  which  are  at 
once  sudden:  and  durable  (what  you  find  in  no  other 
nation),  and  who  actually  have  no  society  (what  we 
would  call  so),  as  you  may  see  by  their  comedies ; 
they  have  no  real  comedy,  not  even  in  Goldoni,  and 
that  is  because  they  have  no  society  to  draw  it  from. 

"  Their  conversazioni  are  not  society  at  all.  They 
go  to  the  theatre  to  talk,  and  into  company  to  hold 
their  tongues.  The  women  sit  in  a  circle,  and  the 
men  gather  into  groups,  or  they  play  at  dreary  faro, 
or  *  lotto  reale,'  for  small  sums.  Their  academic 
are  concerts  like  our  own,  with  better  music  and 
more  form.  Their  best  things  are  the  carnival  balls 
and  masquerades,  when  every  body  runs  mad  for  six 
weeks.  After  their  dinners  and  suppers  they  make 
extempore  verses  and  buffoon  one  another  ;  but  it  is 
in  a  humour  which  you  would  not  enter  into,  ye  of 
the  north. 

"  In  their  houses  it  is  better.  I  should  know  some- 
thing of  the  matter,  having  had  a  pretty  general 
experience  among  their  women,  from  the  fisherman's 
wife  up  to  the  Nobil  Dama,  whom  I  serve.  Their 
system  has  its  rules,  and  its  fitnesses,  and  its  deco- 
rums, so  as  to  be  reduced  to  a  kind  of  discipline  or 
game  at  hearts,  which  admits  few  deviations,  unless 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  285 

you  wish  to  lose  it.  They  are  extremely  tenacious, 
and  jealous  as  furies,  not  permitting  their  lovers  even 
to  marry  if  they  can  help  it,  and  keeping  them  always 
close  to  them  in  public  as  in  private,  whenever  they 
can.  In  short,  they  transfer  marriage  to  adultery, 
and  strike  the  not  out  of  that  commandment.  The 
reason  is,  that  they  marry  for  their  parents,  and  love 
for  themselves.  They  exact  fidelity  from  a  lover  as 
a  debt  of  honour,  while  they  pay  the  husband  as  a 
tradesman,  that  is,  not  at  all.  You  hear  a  person's 
character,  male  or  female,  canvassed  not  as  depend- 
ing on  their  conduct  to  their  husbands  or  wives,  but 
to  their  mistress  or  lover.  If  I  wrote  a  quarto,  I 
don't  know  that  I  could  do  more  than  amplify  what 
I  have  here  noted.  It  is  to  be  observed  that  while 
they  do  all  this,  the  greatest  outward  respect  is  to 
be  paid  to  the  husbands,  not  only  by  the  ladies,  but 
by  their  Serventi — particularly  if  the  husband  serves 
no  one  himself  (which  is  not  often  the  case,  however); 
so  that  you  would  often  suppose  them  relations — the 
Servente  making  the  figure  of  one  adopted  into  the 
family.  Sometimes  the  ladies  run  a  little  restive  and 
elope,  or  divide,  or  make  a  scene :  but  this  is  at 
starting,  generally,  when  they  know  no  better,  or 
when  they  fall  in  love  with  a  foreigner,  or  some  such 
anomaly,  —  and  is  always  reckoned  unnecessary  and 

"  You  enquire  after  Dante's  Prophecy :  I  have  not 
done  more  than  six  hundred  lines,  but  will  vaticinate 
at  leisure. 

"  Of  the  bust  I  know  nothing.  No  cameos  or  seals 
are  to  be  cut  here  or  elsewhere  that  I  know  of,  in 

286  NOTICES    OF    THE 


any  good  style.  Hobhouse  should  write  himself  to 
Thorwaldsen :  the  bust  was  made  and  paid  for  three 
years  ago. 

"  Pray  tell  Mrs.  Leigh  to  request  Lady  Byron  to 
urge  forward  the  transfer  from  the  funds.  I  wrote 
to  Lady  Byron  on  business  this  post,  addressed  to 
the  care  of  Mr.  D.  Kinnaird." 

LETTER  358.        TO  MR.  BANKES. 

"  Ravenna,  February  26.  1820. 

"  Pulci  and  I  are  waiting  for  you  with  impatience ; 
but  I  suppose  we  must  give  way  to  the  attraction  of 
the  Bolognese  galleries  for  a  time.  I  know  nothing 
of  pictures  myself,  and  care  almost  as  little :  but  to 
me  there  are  none  like  the  Venetian  —  above  all, 
Giorgione.  I  remember  well  his  Judgment  of  Solo- 
mon in  the  Mariscalchi  in  Bologna.  The  real  mo- 
ther is  beautiful,  exquisitely  beautiful.  Buy  her, 
by  all  means,  if  you  can,  and  take  her  home  with 
you :  put  her  in  safety :  for  be  assured  there  are 
troublous  times  brewing  for  Italy ;  and  as  I  never 
could  keep  out  of  a  row  in  my  life,  it  will  be  my  fate* 
I  dare  say,  to  be  over  head  and  ears  in  it ;  but  no 
matter,  these  are  the  stronger  reasons  for  coming  to 
see  me  soon. 

"  I  have  more  of  Scott's  novels  (for  surely  they 
are  Scott's)  since  we  met,  and  am  more  and  more 
delighted.  I  think  that  I  even  prefer  them  to  his 
poetry,  which  (by  the  way)  I  redde  for  the  first  time 
in  my  life  in  your  rooms  in  Trinity  College. 

"  There  are  some  curious  commentaries  on  Dante 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  287 

preserved  here,  which  you  should  see.     Believe  me 
ever,  faithfully  and  most  affectionately,  yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  359.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  March  1.  1820. 

"  I  sent  you  by  last  post  the  translation  of  the 
first  Canto  of  the  Morgante  Maggiore,  and  wish  you 
to  ask  Rose  about  the  word  *  sbergo,'  L  e.  '  usbergo,' 
which  I  have  translated  cuirass.  I  suspect  that  it 
means  helmet  also.  Now,  if  so,  which  of  the  senses 
is  best  accordant  with  the  text?  I  have  adopted 
cuirass,  but  will  be  amenable  to  reasons.  Of  the 
natives,  some  say  one,  and  some  t'other :  but  they 
are  no  great  Tuscans  in  Romagna.  However,  I  will 
ask  Sgricci  (the  famous  improvisatore)  to-morrow, 
who  is  a  native  of  Arezzo.  The  Countess  Guiccioli 
who  is  reckoned  a  very  cultivated  young  lady,  and 
the  dictionary,  say  cuirass.  I  have  written  cuirass, 
but  helmet  runs  in  my  head  nevertheless  —  and  will 
run  in  verse  very  well,  whilk  is  the  principal  point. 
I  will  ask  the  Sposa  Spina  Spinelli,  too,  the  Florentine 
bride  of  Count  Gabriel  Rusponi,  just  imported  from 
Florence,  and  get  the  sense  out  of  somebody. 

"  I  have  just  been  visiting  the  new  Cardinal,  who 
arrived  the  day  before  yesterday  in  his  legation.  He 
seems  a  good  old  gentleman,  pious  and  simple,  and 
not  quite  like  his  predecessor,  who  was  a  bon-vivant, 
in  the  worldly  sense  of  the  words. 

"  Enclosed  is  a  letter  which  I  received  some  time 
ago  from  Dallas.  It  will  explain  itself.  I  have  not 
answered  it.  This  comes  of  doing  people  good.  At 

5288  NOTICES    OF    THE  ]  820. 

one  time  or  another  (including  copyrights)  this  per- 
son has  had  about  fourteen  hundred  pounds  of  my 
money,  and  he  writes  what  he  calls  a  posthumous 
work  about  me,  and  a  scrubby  letter  accusing  me  of 
treating  him  ill,  when  I  never  did  any  such  thing. 
It  is  true  that  Heft  off  letter-writing,  as  I  have  done 
with  almost  everybody  else ;  but  I  can't  see  how  that 
was  misusing  him. 

"  I  look  upon  his  epistle  as  the  consequence  of  my 
not  sending  him  another  hundred  pounds,  which 
he  wrote  to  me  for  about  two  years  ago,  and  which 
I  thought  proper  to  withhold,  he  having  had  his 
share,  methought,  of  what  I  could  dispone  upon 

"  In  your  last  you  ask  me  after  my  articles  of 
domestic  wants ;  I  believe  they  are  as  usual :  the 
bull-dogs,  magnesia,  soda-powders,  tooth-powders, 
brushes,  and  every  thing  of  the  kind  which  are  here 
unattainable.  You  still  ask  me  to  return  to  England : 
alas  !  to  what  purpose  ?  You  do  not  know  what 
you  are  requiring.  Return  I  must,  probably,  some 
day  or  other  (if  I  live),  sooner  or  later ;  but  it  will 
not  be  for  pleasure,  nor  can  it  end  in  good.  You 
enquire  after  my  health  and  SPIRITS  in  large  letters: 
my  health  can't  be  very  bad,  for  I  cured  myself  of  a 
sharp  tertian  ague,  in  three  weeks,  with  cold  water, 
which  had  held  my  stoutest  gondolier  for  months, 
notwithstanding  all  the  bark  of  the  apothecary,  —  a 
circumstance  which  surprised  Dr.  Aglietti,  who  said 
it  was  a  proof  of  great  stamina,  particularly  in  so 
epidemic  a  season.  I  did  it  out  of  dislike  to  the 
taste  of  bark  (which  [  can't  bear),  and  succeeded, 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  289 

contrary  to  the  prophecies  of  every  body,  by  simply 
taking  nothing  at  all.  As  to  spirits,  they  are  un- 
equal, now  high,  now  low,  like  other  people's  I 
suppose,  and  depending  upon  circumstances. 

"  Pray  send  me  W.  Scott's  new  novels.  What  are 
their  names  and  characters  ?  I  read  some  of  his 
former  ones,  at  least  once  a  day,  for  an  hour  or  so. 
The  last  are  too  hurried :  he  forgets  Ravenswood's 
name,  and  calls  him  Edgar  and  then  Norman;  and 
Girder,  the  cooper,  is  styled  now  Gilbert,  and  now 
John  ;  and  he  don't  make  enough  of  Montrose  ;  but 
Dalgetty  is  excellent,  and  so  is  Lucy  Ashton,  and 
the  b — h  her  mother.  What  is  Ivanhoe  9  and  what 
do  you  call  his  other  ?  are  there  two  ?  Pray  make 
him  write  at  least  two  a  year  :  I  like  no  reading  so 

"  The  editor  of  the  Bologna  Telegraph  has  sent 
me  a  paper  with  extracts  from  Mr.  Mulock's  (his 
name  always  reminds  me  of  Muley  Moloch  of 
Morocco)  *  Atheism  answered,'  in  which  there  is  a 
long  eulogium  of  my  poesy,  and  a  great  *  compati- 
mento'  for  my  misery.  I  never  could  understand 
what  they  mean  by  accusing  me  of  irreligion.  How- 
ever, they  may  have  it  their  own  way.  This  gentle- 
man seems  to  be  my  great  admirer,  so  I  take  what 
he  says  in  good  part,  as  he  evidently  intends  kind- 
ness, to  which  I  can't  accuse  myself  of  being  invin 

"  Yours,"  (Nrc. 

VOL.  \\, 

290  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

LETTER  360.         TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  March  5.  182O. 

"  In  case,  in  your  country,  you  should  not  readily 
lay  hands  on  the  Morgante  Maggiore,  I  send  you  the 
original  text  of  the  first  Canto,  to  correspond  with 
the  translation  which  I  sent  you  a  few  days  ago.  It 
is  from  the  Naples  edition  in  quarto  of  1732, — 
dated  Florence,  however,  by  a  trick  of  the  trade, 
which  you,  as  one  of  the  allied  sovereigns  of  the 
profession,  will  perfectly  understand  without  any 
further  spiegazione. 

"  It  is  strange  that  here  nobody  understands  the 
real  precise  meaning  of '  sbergo,'  or  {  usbergo V  an 
old  Tuscan  word,  which  I  have  rendered  cuirass  (but 
am  not  sure  it  is  not  helmet).  I  have  asked  at  least 
twenty  people,  learned  and  ignorant,  male  and 
female,  including  poets,  and  officers  civil  and  military. 
The  dictionary  says  cuirass,  but  gives  no  authority ; 
and  a  female  friend  of  mine  says  positively  cuirass, 
which  makes  me  doubt  the  fact  still  more  than  before. 
Ginguene  says  l  bonnet  de  fer,'  with  the  usual 
superficial  decision  of  a  Frenchman,  so  that  I  can't 
believe  him :  and  what  between  the  dictionary,  the 
Italian  woman,  and  the  Frenchman,  there's  no  trust- 
ing to  a  word  they  say.  The  context,  too,  which 
should  decide,  admits  equally  of  either  meaning,  as 
you  will  perceive.  Ask  Rose,  Hobhouse,  Merivale, 
and  Foscolo,  and  vote  with  the  majority.  Is  Frere 

*  It  has  been  suggested  to  me  that  usbergo  is  obviously  th<, 
same  as  hauberk,  habergeon,  &c.  all  from  the  German  haU- 
berg,  or  covering  of  the  neck. 

1320.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  291 

a  good  Tuscan  ?  if  he  be,  bother  him  too.  I  have 
tried,  you  see,  to  be  as  accurate  as  I  well  could. 
This  is  my  third  or  fourth  letter,  or  packet,  within 
the  last  twenty  days." 

LETTER  361.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  March  14.  1820. 

"  Enclosed  is  Dante's  Prophecy  —  Vision  —  or 
what  not.  *  Where  I  have  left  more  than  one 
reading  (which  I  have  done  often),  you  may  adopt 
that  which  GifFord,  Frere,  Rose,  and  Hobhouse,  and 
others  of  your  Utican  Senate  think  the  best  or  least 
bad.  The  preface  will  explain  all  that  is  explicable. 
These  are  but  the  four  first  cantos :  if  approved, 
I  will  go  on.  , 

"  Pray  mind  in  printing ;  and  let  some  good  Italian 
scholar  correct  the  Italian  quotations. 

"  Four  days  ago  I  was  overturned  in  an  open  car- 
riage between  the  river  and  a  steep  bank  : — wheels 
dashed  to  pieces,  slight  bruises,  narrow  escape,  and 
all  that ;  but  no  harm  done,  though  coachman,  foot- 
man, horses,  and  vehicle,  were  all  mixed  together 
like  macaroni.  It  was  owing  to  bad  driving,  as  I 
say  ;  but  the  coachman  swears  to  a  stait  on  the  part 
of  the  horses.  We  went  against  a  post  on  the  verge 

*  There  were  in  this  Poem,  originally,  three  lines  of  remark- 
able strength  and  severity,  which,  as  the  Italian  poet  against 
whom  they  were  directed  was  then  living,  were  omitted  ia 
the  publication.      I  shall  here  give  them  from  memory. 
"  The  prostitution  of  his  Muse  and  wife, 
Both  beautiful,  and  both  by  him  debased, 
Shall  salt  his  bread  and  give  him  means  of  life." 

u  2 

292  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

of  a  steep  bank,  and  capsized.  I  usually  go  out  of  the 
town  in  a  carriage,  and  meet  the  saddle  horses  at  the 
bridge ;  it  was  in  going  there  that  we  boggled ;  but 
I  got  my  ride,  as  usual,  after  the  accident.  They  say 
here  it  was  all  owing  to  St.  Antonio  of  Padua,  (serious, 
I  assure  you,)  — who  does  thirteen  miracles  a  day, 
—  that  worse  did  not  come  of  it.  I  have  no  objec- 
tion to  this  being  his  fourteenth  in  the  four-and- 
twenty-hours.  He  presides  over  overturns  and  all 
escapes  therefrom,  it  seems :  and  they  dedicate 
pictures,  &c.  to  him,  as  the  sailors  once  did  to  Nep- 
tune, after  « the  high  Roman  fashion.' 

"  Yours,  in  haste." 

LETTER  362.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  March  20.  1820. 

"  Last  post  I  sent  you  *  The  Vision  of  Dante,'  — 
four  first  Cantos.  Enclosed  you  will  find,  line  for 
line,  in  third  rhyme  (terza  rima),  of  which  your  British 
blackguard  reader  as  yet  understands  nothing,  Fanny 
of  Rimini.  You  know  that  she  was  born  here,  and 
married,  and  slain,  from  Gary,  Boyd,  and  such 
people.  I  have  done  it  into  cramp  English,  line  for 
line,  and  rhyme  for  rhyme,  to  try  the  possibility. 
You  had  best  append  it  to  the  poems  already  sent 
by  last  three  posts.  I  shall  not  allow  you  to  play 
the  tricks  you  did  last  year,  with  the  prose  you  post' 
scribed  to  Mazeppa,  which  I  sent  to  you  not  to  be 
published,  if  not  in  a  periodical  paper,  —  and  there 
you  tacked  it,  without  a  word  of  explanation.  If  this 
is  published,  publish  it  with  the  original,  and  together 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  293 

with  the  Pulci  translation,  or  the  Da?ite  imitation. 
I  suppose  you  have  both  by  now,  and  the  Juan  long 

"  Translation  from  the  Inferno  of  Dante,  Canto  5tk. 

**  '  The  land  where  I  was  born  sits  by  the  seas, 
Upon  that  shore  to  which  the  Po  descends, 
With  all  his  followers,  in  search  of  peace. 

Love,  which  the  gentle  heart  soon  apprehends, 
Seized  him  for  the  fair  person  which  was  ta'en 
From  me,  and  me  even  yet  the  mode  offends. 

Love,  who  to  none  beloved  to  love  again 

Remits,  seized  me  with  wish  to  please,  so  strong, 
That,  as  thou  seest,  yet,  yet  it  doth  remain. 

Love  to  one  death  conducted  us  along, 

But  Caina  waits  for  him  our  life  who  ended : ' 
These  were  the  accents  utter 'd  by  her  tongue, 

Since  first  I  listen'd  to  these  souls  offended, 
I  bow'd  my  visage  and  so  kept  it  till  — 

C  then  "| 

'  What  think'st  thou  ? '  said  the  bard  ;  |_  when  J  I  un- 

And  recommenced :   *  Alas !  unto  such  ill 

How  many  sweet  thoughts,  what  strong  ecstasies 
Led  these  their  evil  fortune  to  fulfil ! ' 

And  then  I  turn'd  unto  their  side  my  eyes, 
And  said,  *  Francesca,  thy  sad  destinies 
Have  made  me  sorrow  till  the  tears  arise. 

But  tell  me,  in  the  season  of  sweet  sighs, 
By  what  and  how  thy  Love  to  Passion  rose, 
So  as  his  dim  desires  to  recognise?* 

Then  she  to  me :   *  The  greatest  of  all  woes 

f  recall  to  mind  ~l 
Is  to  \_  remind  us  of  J  our  happy  days 


In  misery,  and  \  that  J  thy  teacher  knows. 
U    3 

294  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

But  if  to  learn  our  passion's  first  root  preys 

Upon  thy  spirit  with  such  sympathy, 
p     relate     ~\ 

I  will  j_  do  *  even  J  as  he  who  weeps  and  says.  • 

We  read  one  day  for  pastime,  seated  nigh, 

Of  Lancilot,  how  Love  enchain'd  him  too. 

We  were  alone,  quite  unsuspiciously, 
But  oft  our  eyes  met,  and  our  cheeks  in  hue 

All  o'er  discolour'd  by  that  reading  were  j 

C     overthrew      ~\ 

But  one  point  only  wholly  \  us  o'erthrew;  J 

f         desired         ~l 

When  we  read  the  {_  long-sighed-for  J  smile  of  her, 
r  a  fervent  ~\ 

To  be  thus  kiss'd  by  such  (_  devoted  J  lover, 

He  who  from  me  can  be  divided  ne'er 
Kiss'd  my  mouth,  trembling  in  the  act  all  over. 

Accursed  was  the  book  and  he  who  wrote ! 

That  day  no  further  leaf  we  did  uncover. 

While  thus  one  Spirit  told  us  of  their  lot, 

The  other  wept,  so  that  with  pity's  thralls 

I  swoonrd  as  if  by  death  I  had  been  smote, 
And  fell  down  even  as  a  dead  body  falls.'  " 

LETTER  363.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Ravenna,  March  23.  1820. 

"  I  have  received  your  letter  of  the  7th.  Besides 
the  four  packets  you  have  already  received,  I  have 
sent  the  Pulci  a  few  days  after,  and  since  (a  few  days 
ago)  the  four  first  Cantos  of  Dante's  Prophecy,  (the 

*  «  In  some  of  the  editions,  it  is,  '  diro,'  in  others  «  faro ; ' 
—  an  essential  difference  between  '  saying'  and  '  doing,'  which 
I  know  not  how  to  decide.  Ask  Foscolo.  The  d — d  editions 
drive  me  mad." 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  295 

best  thing  I  ever  wrote,  if  it  be  not  unintelligible,) 
and  by  last  post  a  literal  translation,  word  for  word 
(versed  like  the  original),  of  the  episode  of  Francesca 
of  Rimini.  I  want  to  hear  what  you  think  of  the 
new  Juans,  and  the  translations,  and  the  Vision. 
They  are  all  things  that  are,  or  ought  to  be,  very 
different  from  one  another. 

"  If  you  choose  to  make  a  print  from  the  Venetian, 
you  may;  but  she  don't  correspond  at  all  to  the 
character  you  mean  her  to  represent.  On  the  con- 
trary, the  Contessa  G.  does  (except  that  she  is  fair), 
and  is  much  prettier  than  the  Fornarina ;  but  I  have 
no  picture  of  her  except  a  miniature,  which  is  very 
ill  done ;  and,  besides,  it  would  not  be  proper,  on 
any  account  whatever,  to  make  such  a  use  of  it,  even 
if  you  had  a  copy. 

"  Recollect  that  the  two  new  Cantos  only  count 
with  us  for  one.  You  may  put  the  Pulci  and  Dante 
together  :  perhaps  that  were  best.  So  you  have  put 
your  name  to  Juan,  after  all  your  panic.  You  are  a 
rare  fellow.  I  must  now  put  myself  in  a  passion  to 
continue  my  prose.  Yours,"  &c. 

"  I  have  caused  write  to  Thorwaldsen.  Pray  be 
careful  in  sending  my  daughter's  picture  —  I  mean, 
that  it  be  not  hurt  in  the  carriage,  for  it  is  a  journey 
rather  long  and  jolting." 

LETTER  364.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  March  28.  1820. 

"  Enclosed  is  a  *  Screed  of  Doctrine'  for  you,  of 
which  I  will  trouble  you  to  acknowledge  the  receipt 
u  4 

296  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

by  next  post.  Mr.  Hobhouse  must  have  the  cor- 
rection of  it  for  the  press.  You  may  show  it  first  to 
whom  you  please. 

"  I  wish  to  know  what  became  of  my  two  Epistles 
from  St.  Paul  (translated  from  the  Armenian  three 

years  ago  and  more),  and  of  the  letter  to  R ts  of 

last  autumn,  which  you  never  have  attended  to? 
There  are  two  packets  with  this. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  some  thoughts  of  publishing  the 
'  Hints  from  Horace,'  written  ten  years  ago  *,  —  if 
Hobhouse  can  rummage  them  out  of  my  papers  left 
at  his  father's,  —  with  some  omissions  and  altera- 
tions previously  to  be  made  when  I  see  the  proofs." 

LETTER  365.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  March  29.  1820. 

"  Herewith  you  will  receive  a  note  (enclosed)  on 
Pope,  which  you  will  find  tally  with  a  part  of  the 
text  of  last  post.  I  have  at  last  lost  all  patience 
with  the  atrocious  cant  and  nonsense  about  Pope, 
with  which  our  present  *  *  s  are  overflowing,  and 

*  When  making  the  observations  which  occur  in  the  early 
part  of  this  work,  on  the  singular  preference  given  by  the 
noble  author  to  the  "  Hints  from  Horace,"  I  was  not  aware 
of  the  revival  of  this  strange  predilection,  which  (as  it  appears 
from  the  above  letter,  and,  still  more  strongly,  from  some  that 
follow)  took  place  so  many  years  after,  in  the  full  maturity  of 
his  powers  and  taste.  Such  a  delusion  is  hardly  conceivable, 
and  can  only,  perhaps,  be  accounted  for  by  that  tenaciousness 
of  early  opinions  and  impressions  by  which  his  mind,  in  other 
respects  so  versatile,  was  characterised. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  297 

am  determined  to  make  such  head  against  it  as  an 
individual  can,  by  prose  or  verse ;  and  I  will  at 
least  do  it  with  good  will.  There  is  no  bearing  it 
any  longer ;  and  if  it  goes  on,  it  will  destroy  what 
little  good  writing  or  taste  remains  amongst  us.  I 
hope  there  are  still  a  few  men  of  taste  to  second 
me  ;  but  if  not,  I'll  battle  it  alone,  convinced  that  it 
is  in  the  best  cause  of  English  literature. 

"  I  have  sent  you  so  many  packets,  verse  and 
prose,  lately,  that  you  will  be  tired  of  the  postage,  if 
not  of  the  perusal.  I  want  to  answer  some  parts  of 
your  last  letter,  but  I  have  not  time,  for  I  must 
'  boot  and  saddle,'  as  my  Captain  Craigengelt  (an 
officer  of  the  old  Napoleon  Italian  army)  is  in  wait- 
ing, and  my  groom  and  cattle  to  boot. 

"  You  have  given  me  a  screed  of  metaphor  and 
what  not  about  Pulci,  and  manners,  and  '  going 
without  clothes,  like  our  Saxon  ancestors.'  Now, 
the  Saxons  did  not  go  without  clothes  ;  and,  in  the 
next  place,  they  are  not  my  ancestors,  nor  yours 
either  ;  for  mine  were  Norman,  and  yours,  I  take  i 
by  your  name,  were  Gael.  And,  in  the  next,  I 
differ  from  you  about  the  c  refinement '  which  has 
banished  the  comedies  of  Congreve.  Are  not  the 
comedies  of  Sheridan  acted  to  the  thinnest  houses  ? 
I  know  (as  ex-committed]  that *  The  School  for  Scan- 
dal' was  the  worst  stock  piece  upon  record.  I 
also  know  that  Congreve  gave  up  writing  because 
Mrs.  Centlivre's  balderdash  drove  his  comedies  off. 
So  it  is  not  decency,  but  stupidity,  that  does  all  this ; 
for  Sheridan  is  as  decent  a  writer  as  need  be,  and 
Congreve  no  worse  than  Mrs.  Centlivre,  of  whom 

NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 


Wilks  (the  actor)  said,  *  not  only  her  play  would  be 
damned,  but  she  too.'  He  alluded  to  «  A  Bold 
Stroke  for  a  Wife.'  But  last,  and  most  to  the  pur- 
pose, Pulci  is  not  an  indecent  writer  —  at  least  in 
his  first  Canto,  as  you  will  have  perceived  by  this 

"  You  talk  of  refinement :  —  are  you  all  more 
moral  ?  are  you  so  moral  ?  No  such  thing.  /  know 
what  the  world  is  in  England,  by  my  own  proper  ex- 
perience of  the  best  of  it — at  least  of  the  loftiest; 
and  I  have  described  it  every  where  as  it  is  to  be 
found  in  all  places. 

"  But  to  return.  I  should  like  to  see  the  proofs 
of  mine  answer,  because  there  will  be  something  to 
omit  or  to  alter.  But  pray  let  it  be  carefully 
printed.  When  convenient  let  me  have  an  answer. 

"  Yours." 

LETTER  366.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

ft  Ravenna,  March  31.  1820. 

"  Ravenna  continues  much  the  same  as  I  de- 
scribed it.  Conversazioni  all  Lent,  and  much  better 
ones  than  any  at  Venice.  There  are  small  games  at 
hazard,  that  is,  faro,  where  nobody  can  point  more 
than  a  shilling  or  two  ;  —  other  card-tables,  and  as 
much  talk  and  coffee  as  you  please.  Every  body 
does  and  says  what  they  please ;  and  I  do  not  recol- 
lect any  disagreeable  events,  except  being  three 
times  falsely  accused  of  flirtation,  and  once  being 
robbed  of  six  sixpences  by  a  nobleman  of  the  city,  a 
Count  *  *  *.  I  did  not  suspect  the  illustrious 




delinquent ;  but  the  Countess  V  *  *  *  and  the 
Marquis  L  *  *  *  told  me  of  it  directly,  and  also  that 
it  was  a  way  he  had,  of  filching  money  when  he 
saw  it  before  him ;  but  I  did  not  ax  him  for  the 
cash,  but  contented  myself  with  telling  him  that  if 
he  did  it  again,  I  should  anticipate  the  law. 

"  There  is  to  be  a  theatre  in  April,  and  a  fair,  and 
an  opera,  and  another  opera  in  June,  besides  the 
fine  weather  of  nature's  giving,  and  the  rides  in  the 
Forest  of  Pine.  With  my  best  respects  to  Mrs. 
Hoppner,  believe  me  ever,  &c.  BYRON. 

"  P.  S.  Could  you  give  me  an  item  of  what 
books  remain  at  Venice  ?  I  don't  want  them,  but 
want  to  know  whether  the  few  that  are  not  here 
are  there,  and  were  not  lost  by  the  way.  I  hope 
and  trust  you  have  got  all  your  wine  safe,  and  that 
it  is  drinkable.  Allegra  is  prettier,  1  think,  but  as 
obstinate  as  a  mule,  and  as  ravenous  as  a  vulture  : 
health  good,  to  judge  of  the  complexion — temper 
tolerable,  but  for  vanity  and  pertinacity.  She  thinks 
herself  handsome,  and  will  do  as  she  pleases." 

LETTER  367.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  April  9.  1820. 

"  In  the  name  of  all  the  devils  in  the  printing- 
office,  why  don't  you  write  to  acknowledge  the  re- 
ceipt of  the  second,  third,  and  fourth  packets,  viz. 
the  Pulci  translation  and  original,  the  I)anticles,  the 
Observations  on,  &c.  ?  You  forget  that  you  keep 
me  in  hot  water  till  I  know  whether  they  are  arrived, 
or  if  1  must  have  the  bore  of  re-copying. 

300  NOTICES    OF    THE  1S£0. 

"  Have  you  gotten  the  cream  of  translations, 
Francesca  of  Rimini,  from  the  Inferno?  Why,  I 
have  sent  you  a  warehouse  of  trash  within  the  last 
month,  and  you  have  no  sort  of  feeling  about  you  : 
a  pastry-cook  would  have  had  twice  the  gratitude, 
and  thanked  me  at  least  for  the  quantity. 

"  To  make  the  letter  heavier,  I  enclose  you  the 
Cardinal  Legate's  (our  Campeius)  circular  for  his 
conversazione  this  evening.  It  is  the  anniversary 
of  the  Pope's  ft'ara-tion,  and  all  polite  Christians, 
even  of  the  Lutheran  creed,  must  go  and  be  civil. 
And  there  will  be  a  circle,  and  a  faro-table,  (for 
shillings,  that  is,  they  don't  allow  high  play,)  and 
all  the  beauty,  nobility,  and  sanctity  of  Ravenna 
present.  The  Cardinal  himself  is  a  very  good- 
natured  little  fellow,  bishop  of  Muda,  and  legate 
here,  —  a  decent  believer  in  all  the  doctrines  of  the 
church.  He  has  kept  his  housekeeper  these  forty 
years  *  *  *  *  ;  but  is  reckoned  a  pious  man,  and  a 
moral  liver. 

"  I  am  not  quite  sure  that  I  won't  be  among  you 
this  autumn,  for  I  find  that  business  don't  go  on 
—  what  with  trustees  and  lawyers — as  it  should  do, 
'  with  all  deliberate  speed.'  They  differ  about  in- 
vestments in  Ireland. 

"  Between  the  devil  and  deep  sea, 
Between  the  lawyer  and  trustee, 

I  am  puzzled ;  and  so  much  time  is  lost  by  my  not 
being  upon  the  spot,  what  with  answers,  demurs, 
rejoinders,  that  it  may  be  I  must  come  and  look  to 
it ;  for  one  says  do,  and  t'other  don't,  so  that  I  know 


LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  301 

not  which  way   to   turn :    but   perhaps   they  can 
manage  without  me. 

«  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  begun  a  tragedy  on  the  subject 
of  Marino  Faliero,  the  Doge  of  Venice ;  but  you 
sha'n't  see  it  these  six  years,  if  you  don't  acknow- 
ledge my  packets  with  more  quickness  and  pre- 
cision. Always  write,  if  but  a  line,  by  return  of 
post,  when  any  thing  arrives,  which  is  not  a  mere 

"  Address  direct  to  Ravenna ;  it  saves  a  week's 
time,  and  much  postage." 

LETTER  368.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  April  16.  1820. 

"  Post  after  post  arrives  without  bringing  any 
acknowledgment  from  you  of  the  different  packets 
(excepting  the  first)  which  I  sent  within  the  last  two 
months,  all  of  which  ought  to  be  arrived  long  ere 
now  ;  and  as  they  were  announced  in  other  letters, 
you  ought  at  least  to  say  whether  they  are  come  or 
not.  You  are  not  expected  to  write  frequent,  or 
long  letters,  as  your  time  is  much  occupied;  but 
when  parcels  that  have  cost  some  pains  in  the  com- 
position, and  great  trouble  in  the  copying,  are  sent 
to  you,  I  should  at  least  be  put  out  of  suspense,  by 
the  immediate  acknowledgment,  per  return  of  post, 
addressed  directly  to  Ravenna.  I  am  naturally  — 
knowing  what  continental  posts  are  —  anxious  to 
hear  that  they  are  arrived ;  especially  as  I  loathe  the 
task  of  copying  so  much,  that  if  there  was  a  human 

302  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

being  that  could  copy  my  blotted  MSS.  he  should 
have  all  they  can  ever  bring  for  his  trouble.  All  I 
desire  is  two  lines,  to  say,  such  a  day  I  received  such 
a  packet.  There  are  at  least  six  unacknowledged. 
This  is  neither  kind  nor  courteous. 

"  I  have,  besides,  another  reason  for  desiring 
you  to  be  speedy,  which  is,  that  there  is  THAT  brew- 
ing in  Italy  which  will  speedily  cut  off  all  security 
of  communication,  and  set  all  your  Anglo-travellers 
flying  in  every  direction,  with  their  usual  fortitude 
in  foreign  tumults.  The  Spanish  and  French  affairs 
have  set  the  Italians  in  a  ferment ;  and  no  wonder : 
they  have  been  too  long  trampled  on.  This  will 
make  a  sad  scene  for  your  exquisite  traveller,  but 
not  for  the  resident,  who  naturally  wishes  a  people 
to  redress  itself.  I  shall,  if  permitted  by  the  natives, 
remain  to  see  what  will  come  of  it,  and  perhaps  to 
take  a  turn  with  them,  like  Dugald  Dalgetty  and 
his  horse,  in  case  of  business  ;  for  I  shall  think  it 
by  far  the  most  interesting  spectacle  and  moment 
in  existence,  to  see  the  Italians  send  the  barbarians 
of  al}  nations  back  to  their  own  dens.  I  have  lived 
long  enough  among  them  to  feel  more  for  them  as 
a  nation  than  for  any  other  people  in  existence.  But 
they  want  union,  and  they  want  principle ;  and  I 
doubt  their  success.  However,  they  will  try,  pro- 
bably, and  if  they  do,  it  will  be  a  good  cause.  No 
Italian  can  hate  an  Austrian  more  than  I  do :  unless 
it  be  the  English,  the  Austrians  seem  to  me  the 
most  obnoxious  race  under  the  sky. 

"  But  I  doubt,  if  any  thing  be  done,  it  won't  be 
so  quietly  as  in  Spain.  To  be  sure,  revolutions  are 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  303 

not  to  be  made  with  rose-water,  where  there  are 
foreigners  as  masters. 

"  Write  while  you  can ;  for  it  is  but  the  toss  up  of 
a  paul  that  there  will  not  be  a  row  that  will  some- 
what retard  the  mail  by  and  by. 

«  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  369.       TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Ravenna,  April  18.  1820. 

"  I  have  caused  write  to  Siri  and  Willhalm  to 
send  with  Vincenza,  in  a  boat,  the  camp-beds  and 
swords  left  in  their  care  when  I  quitted  Venice. 
There  are  also  several  pounds  of  Mantoris  best 
powder  in  a  Japan  case;  but  unless  I  felt  sure  of 
getting  it  away  from  V.  without  seizure,  I  won't 
have  it  ventured.  I  can  get  it  in  here,  by  means  of 
an  acquaintance  in  the  customs,  who  has  offered  to 
get  it  ashore  for  me;  but  should  like  to  be  certiorated 
of  its  safety  in  leaving  Venice.  I  would  not  lose  it 
for  its  weight  in  gold — there  is  none  such  in  Italy, 
as  I  take  it  to  be. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  a  week  or  so  ago,  and  hope  you 
are  in  good  plight  and  spirits.  Sir  Humphry  Davy 
is  here,  and  was  last  night  at  the  Cardinal's.  As  I 
had  been  there  last  Sunday,  and  yesterday  was 
warm,  I  did  not  go,  which  I  should  have  done,  if  I 
had  thought  of  meeting  the  man  of  chemistry.  He 
called  this  morning,  and  I  shall  go  in  search  of  him 
at  Corso  time.  I  believe  to-day,  being  Monday, 
there  is  no  great  conversazione,  and  only  the  family 
one  at  the  Marchese  Cavalli's, where  I  go  as  ^relation 

304  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

sometimes,  so  that,  unless  he  stays  a  day  or  two,  we 
should  hardly  meet  in  public. 

"  The  theatre  is  to  open  in  May  for  the  fair,  if 
there  is  not  a  row  in  all  Italy  by  that  time,  —  the 
Spanish  business  has  set  them  all  a  constitutioning, 
and  what  will  be  the  end,  no  one  knows — it  is  also 
necessary  thereunto  to  have  a  beginning. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  My  benediction  to  Mrs.  Hoppner.  How 
is  your  little  boy?  Allegra  is  growing,  and  has 
increased  in  good  looks  and  obstinacy." 

LETTER  370.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  April  23.  1820. 

"  The  proofs  don't  contain  the  last  stanzas  of 
Canto  second,  but  end  abruptly  with  the  105th 

"  I  told  you  long  ago  that  the  new  Cantos  *  were 
not  good,  and  I  also  told  you  a  reason.  Recollect,  I 
do  not  oblige  you  to  publish  them ;  you  may  sup- 
press them,  if  you  like,  but  I  can  alter  nothing.  1 
have  erased  the  six  stanzas  about  those  two  impostors 
*  *  *  *  (which  I  suppose  will  give  you 
great  pleasure),  but  I  can  do  no  more.  I  can 
neither  recast,  nor  replace ;  but  I  give  you  leave  to 
put  it  all  into  the  fire,  if  you  like,  or  not  to  publish, 
and  I  think  that's  sufficient. 

"  I  told  you  that  I  wrote  on  with  no  good  will  — 
that  I  had  been,  not  frightened,  but  hurt  by  the 
outcry,  and,  besides,  that  when  I  wrote  last  November, 

*  Of  Don  Juan. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  S0i» 

I  was  ill  in  body,  and  in  very  great  distress  of  mind 
about  some  private  things  of  my  own;  but  you 
would  have  it :  so  I  sent  it  to  you,  and  to  make  it 
lighter,  cut  it  in  two — but  I  can't  piece  it  together 
again.  I  can't  cobble :  I  must '  either  make  a  spoon 
or  spoil  a  horn,'  —  and  there's  an  end;  for  there's 
no  remeid :  but  I  leave  you  free  will  to  suppress  the 
whole,  if  you  like  it. 

"  About  the  Morgante  Maggiore,  I  won't  have  a 
line  omitted.  It  may  circulate,  or  it  may  not ;  but 
all  the  criticism  on  earth  sha'n't  touch  a  line,  unless 
it  be  because  it  is  badly  translated.  Now  you  say, 
and  I  say,  and  others  say,  that  the  translation  is  a 
good  one ;  and  so  it  shall  go  to  press  as  it  is.  Pulci 
must  answer  for  his  own  irreligion :  I  answer  for  the 
translation  only. 

"  Pray  let  Mr.  Hobhouse  look  to  the  Italian  next 
time  in  the  proofs :  this  time,  while  I  am  scribbling 
to  you,  they  are  corrected  by  one  who  passes  for 
the  prettiest  woman  in  Romagna,  and  even  the 
Marches,  as  far  as  Ancona,  be  the  other  who  she 

"  I  am  glad  you  like  my  answer  to  your  enquiries 
about  Italian  society.  It  is  fit  you  should  like 
something,  and  be  d — d  to  you. 

«  My  love  to  Scott.  I  shall  think  higher  of 
knighthood  ever  after  for  his  being  dubbed.  By 
the  way,  he  is  the  first  poet  titled  for  his  talent 
in  Britain :  it  has  happened  abroad  before  now ;  but 
on  the  Continent  titles  are  universal  and  worthless. 
Why  don't  you  send  me  Ivanhoe  and  the  Monas- 
tery ?  I  have  never  written  to  Sir  Walter,  for  I  know 

VOL.  IV  X 

306  NOTICES    OF    THE  182O. 

he  has  a  thousand  things,  and  I  a  thousand  nothings, 
to  do ;  but  I  hope  to  see  him  at  Abbotsford  before 
very  long,  and  I  will  sweat  his  claret  for  him,  though 
Italian  abstemiousness  has  made  my  brain  but  a 
shilpit  concern  for  a  Scotch  sitting  «  inter  pocula.' 
I  love  Scott,  and  Moore,  and  all  the  better  brethren  ; 
but  I  hate  and  abhor  that  puddle  of  water-worms 
whom  you  have  taken  into  your  troop. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  You  say  that  one  half  is  very  good :  you 
are  wrong ;  for,  if  it  were,  it  would  be  the  finest 
poem  in  existence.  Where  is  the  poetry  of  which 
one  half  is  good  ?  is  it  the  JEneid?  is  it  Milton 's  ?  is 
it  Dryden's?  is  it  any  one's  except  Pope's  and 
Goldsmith's,  of  which  all  is  good?  and  yet  these 
two  last  are  the  poets  your  pond  poets  would 
explode.  But  if  one  half  of  the  two  new  Cantos  be 
good  in  your  opinion,  what  the  devil  would  you 
have  more?  No — no;  no  poetry  is  generally  good 
—  only  by  fits  and  starts — and  you  are  lucky  to  get 
a  sparkle  here  and  there.  You  might  as  well  want 
a  midnight  all  stars  as  rhyme  all  perfect. 

"  We  are  on  the  verge  of  a  row  here.  Last  night 
they  have  overwritten  all  the  city  walls  with  *  Up 
with  the  republic!'  and  '  Death  to  the  Pope!'  &c. 
&c.  This  would  be  nothing  in  London,  where  the 
walls  are  privileged.  But  here  it  is  a  different 
thing :  they  are  not  used  to  such  fierce  political  in- 
scriptions, and  the  police  is  all  on  the  alert,  and  the 
Cardinal  glares  pale  through  all  his  purple. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  307 

"  April  24.  1820.  8  o'clock,  P.M. 
"  The  police  have  been,  all  noon  and  after, 
searching  for  the  inscribers,  but  have  caught  none 
as  yet.  They  must  have  been  all  night  about  it,  for 
the  '  Live  republics — Death  to  Popes  and  Priests/ 
are  innumerable,  and  plastered  over  all  the  palaces : 
ours  has  plenty.  There  is  '  Down  with  the  Nobility,' 
too ;  they  are  down  enough  already,  for  that  matter. 
A  very  heavy  rain  and  wind  having  come  on,  I  did 
not  go  out  and  '  skirr  the  country;'  but  I  shall 
mount  to-morrow,  and  take  a  canter  among  the 
peasantry,  who  are  a  savage,  resolute  race,  always 
riding  with  guns  in  their  hands.  I  wonder  they 
don't  suspect  the  serenaders,  for  they  play  on  the 
guitar  here  all  night,  as  in  Spain,  to  their  mistresses. 

"  Talking  of  politics,  as  Caleb  Quotem  says,  pray 
look  at  the  conclusion  of  my  Ode  on  Waterloo, 
written  in  the  year  1815,  and,  comparing  it  with 
the  Duke  de  Berri's  catastrophe  in  1 820,  tell  me  if 
I  have  not  as  good  a  right  to  the  character  of 
*  VateS)  in  both  senses  of  the  word,  as  Fitzgerald 
and  Coleridge  ? 

"  l  Crimson  tears  will  follow  yet  — ' 
and  have  not  they  ? 

"  I  can't  pretend  to  foresee  what  will  happen 
among  you  Englishers  at  this  distance,  but  I  vati- 
cinate a  row  in  Italy ;  in  whilk  case,  I  don't  know 
that  I  won't  have  a  finger  in  it.  I  dislike  the 
Austrians,  and  think  the  Italians  infamously  op- 
pressed ;  and  if  they  begin,  why,  I  will  recommend 
« the  erection  of  a  sconce  upon  Drumsnab,'  like 
Dugald  Dalgetty." 

x  2 

308  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

LETTER  371.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  May  8.  1820. 

•'•  From  your  not  having  written  again,  an  intention 
which  your  letter  of  the  7th  ultimo  indicated,  I 
have  to  presume  that  the  t  Prophecy  of  Dante'  has 
not  been  found  more  worthy  than  its  predecessors 
in  the  eyes  of  your  illustrious  synod.  In  that  case, 
you  will  be  in  some  perplexity;  to  end  which,  1 
repeat  to  you,  that  you  are  not  to  consider  yourself 
as  bound  or  pledged  to  publish  any  thing  because  it 
is  mine,  but  always  to  act  according  to  your  own 
views,  or  opinions,  or  those  of  your  friends ;  and  to 
be  sure  that  you  will  in  no  degree  offend  me  by 
<  declining  the  article,'  to  use  a  technical  phrase. 
The  prose  observations  on  John  Wilson's  attack,  I 
do  not  intend  for  publication  at  this  time;  and  I 
send  a  copy  of  verses  to  Mr.  Kinnaird  (they  were 
written  last  year  on  crossing  the  Po)  which  must 
not  be  published  either.  I  mention  this,  because  it 
is  probable  he  may  give  you  a  copy.  Pray  recollect 
this,  as  they  are  mere  verses  of  society,  and  written 
upon  private  feelings  and  passions.  And,  moreover, 
I  can't  consent  to  any  mutilations  or  omissions  of 
Pulci :  the  original  has  been  ever  free  from  such  in 
Italy,  the  capital  of  Christianity,  and  the  translation 
may  be  so  in  England;  though  you  will  think  it 
strange  that  they  should  have  allowed  sach  freedom 
for  many  centuries  to  the  Morgante,  while  the  other 
day  they  confiscated  the  whole  translation  of  the 
fourth  Canto  of  Childe  Harold,  and  have  persecuted 
Leoni,  the  translator — so  he  writes  me,  and  so  I 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  309 

could  have  told  him,  had  he  consulted  me  before 
his  publication.  This  shows  how  much  more  politics 
interest  men  in  these  parts  than  religion.  Half  a 
dozen  invectives  against  tyranny  confiscate  Childe 
Harold  in  a  month  ;  and  eight  and  twenty  cantos  of 
quizzing  monks  and  knights,  and  church  govern- 
ment, are  let  loose  for  centuries.  I  copy  Leoni's 

"  '  Non  ignorera  forse  che  la  mia  versione  del 
4°  Canto  del  Childe  Harold  fu  confiscata  in  ogni 
parte:  ed  io  stesso  ho  dovuto  soifrir  vessazioni 
altrettanto  ridicole  quanto  illiberaii,  ad  arte  che 
alcuni  versi  fossero  esclusi  dalla  censura.  Ma 
siccome  il  divieto  non  fa  d'ordinario  che  accrescere 
la  curiosita  cosi  quel  carme  sull'  Italia  &  ricercato 
piu  che  mai,  e  penso  di  farlo  ristampare  in  Inghil- 
terra  senza  nulla  escludere.  Sciagurata  condizione 
di  questa  mia  patria !  se  patria  si  pud  chiamare  una 
terra  cosi  avvilita  dalla  fortuna,  dagli  uomini,  da  se 
medesima. ' 

"  Rose  will  translate  this  to  you.  Has  he  had  his 
letter  ?  I  enclosed  it  to  you  months  ago. 

"  This  intended  piece  of  publication  I  shall  dis- 
suade him  from,  or  he  may  chance  to  see  the  inside 
of  St.  Angelo's.  The  last  sentence  of  his  letter 
is  the  common  and  pathetic  sentiment  of  all  his 

"  Sir  Humphry  Davy  was  here  last  fortnight,  and 
I  was  in  his  company  in  the  house  of  a  very  pretty 
Italian  lady  of  rank,  who,  by  way  of  displaying  her 
learning  in  presence  of  the  great  chemist,  then 
describing  his  fourteenth  ascension  to  Mount  Ve- 
x  3 

310  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

suvius,  asked  '  if  there  was  not  a  similar  volcano  in 
Ireland  ? '  My  only  notion  of  an  Irish  volcano  con- 
sisted of  the  lake  of  Killarney,  which  I  naturally 
conceived  her  to  mean ;  but,  on  second  thoughts,  I 
divined  that  she  alluded  to  Iceland  and  to  Hecla  — 
and  so  it  proved,  though  she  sustained  her  volcanic 
topography  for  some  time  with  all  the  amiable  per- 
tinacity of  *  the  feminie.'  She  soon  after  turned 
to  me  and  asked  me  various  questions  about  Sir 
Humphry's  philosophy,  and  I  explained  as  well  as  an 
oracle  his  skill  in  gasen  safety  lamps,  and  ungluing 
the  Pompeian  MSS.  «  But  what  do  you  call  him?' 
said  she.  '  A  great  chemist,'  quoth  I.  «  What  can 
he  do  ? '  repeated  the  lady.  '  Almost  any  thing,' 
said  I.  <  Oh,  then,  mio  caro,  do  pray  beg  him  to 
give  me  something  to  dye  my  eyebrows  black.  I 
have  tried  a  thousand  things,  and  the  colours  all 
come  off ;  and  besides,  they  don't  grow ;  can't  he 
invent  something  to  make  them  grow?'  All  this 
with  the  greatest  earnestness;  and  what  you  will 
be  surprised  at,  she  is  neither  ignorant  nor  a  fool, 
but  really  well  educated  and  clever.  But  they 
speak  like  children,  when  first  out  of  their  con- 
vents ;  and,  after  all,  this  is  better  than  an  English 
blue -stocking. 

"  I  did  not  tell  Sir  Humphry  of  this  last  piece 
of  philosophy,  not  knowing  how  he  might  take  it. 
Davy  was  much  taken  with  Ravenna,  and  the  PRIMI- 
TIVE Itolianism  of  the  people,  who  are  unused  to 
foreigners  :  but  he  only  stayed  a  day. 

"  Send  me  Scott's  novels  and  some  news. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  begun  and  advanced  into  the  second 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  311 

act  of  a  tragedy  on  the  subject  of  the  Doge's  con- 
spiracy (i.  e.  the  story  of  Marino  Faliero)  ;  but  my 
present  feeling  is  so  little  encouraging  on  such 
matters,  that  I  begin  to  think  I  have  mined  my 
talent  out,  and  proceed  in  no  great  phantasy  of 
finding  a  new  vein. 

"  P.S.  I  sometimes  think  (if  the  Italians  don't  rise) 
of  coming  over  to  England  in  the  autumn  after  the 
coronation,  (at  which  I  would  not  appear,  on  ac- 
count of  my  family  schism,)  but  as  yet  I  can  decide 
nothing.  The  place  must  be  a  great  deal  changed 
since  I  left  it,  now  more  than  four  years  ago." 

LETTER  372.        TO  MR.   MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  May  20.  1820. 

"  Murray,  my  dear,  make  my  respects  to  Thomas 
Campbell,  and  tell  him  from  me,  with  faith  and 
friendship,  three  things  that  he  must  right  in  his 
poets :  Firstly,  he  says  Anstey's  Bath  Guide  cha- 
racters are  taken  from  Smollett.  'Tis  impossible  : 
—  the  Guide  was  published  in  1766,  and  Humphrey 
Clinker  in  1771 — dunque,  'tis  Smollett  who  has 
taken  from  Anstey.  Secondly,  he  does  not  know 
to  whom  Cowper  alludes,  when  he  says  that  there 
was  one  who  *  built  a  church  to  God,  and  then 
blasphemed  his  name  :'  it  was  *  Deo  erexit  Voltaire' 
to  whom  that  maniacal  Calvinist  and  coddled  poet 
alludes.  Thirdly,  he  misquotes  and  spoils  a  passage 
from  Shakspeare,  <  to  gild  refined  gold,  to  paint  the 
lily,'  &c. ;  for  lily  he  puts  rose,  and  bedevils  in  more 
words  than  one  the  whole  quotation. 
x  4- 

S12  .NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

"  Now,  Tom  is  a  fine  fellow ;  but  he  should  be 
correct ;  for  the  first  is  an  injustice  (to  Anstey),  the 
second  an  ignorance,  and  the  third  a  blunder.  Tell 
him  all  this,  and  let  him  take  it  in  good  part ;  for  I 
might  have  rammed  it  into  a  review  and  rowed  him 
—  instead  of  which,  I  act  like  a  Christian. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  373.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Ravenna,  May  20.  1820. 

"  First  and  foremost,  you  must  forward  my  letter 
to  Moore  dated  2d  January,  which  I  said  you  might 
open,  but  desired  you  to  forward.  Now,  you  should 
really  not  forget  these  little  things,  because  they  do 
mischief  among  friends.  You  are  an  excellent  man, 
a  great  man,  and  live  among  great  men,  but  do  pray 
recollect  your  absent  friends  and  authors. 

"  In  the  first  place,  your  packets ;  then  a  letter 
from  Kinnaird,  on  the  most  urgent  business  ;  another 
from  Moore,  about  a  communication  to  Lady  Byron 
of  importance ;  a  fourth  from  the  mother  of  Allegra; 
and,  fifthly,  at  Ravenna,  the  Countess  G.  is  on  the 
eve  of  being  separated.  But  the  Italian  public  are 
on  her  side,  particularly  the  women,  —  and  the  men 
also,  because  they  say  that  he  had  no  business  to 
take  the  business  up  now  after  a  year  of  toleration. 
All  her  relations  (who  are  numerous,  high  in  rank, 
and  powerful)  are  furious  against  him  for  his  con- 
duct. I  am  warned  to  be  on  my  guard,  as  he  is  very 
capable  of  employing  sicarii  —  this  is  Latin  as  well 
as  Italian,  so  you  can  understand  it ;  but  I  have  arms, 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  313 

and  don't  mind  them,  thinking  that  I  could  pepper 
his  ragamuffins,  if  they  don't  come  unawares,  and 
that,  if  they  do,  one  may  as  well  end  that  way 
as  another ;  and  it  would  besides  serve  you  as  an 
advertisement :  — 

"  Man  may  escape  from  rope  or  gun,  &c. 

But  he  who  takes  woman,  woman,  woman,  &c. 

«  Yours. 

"  P.  S.  I  have  looked  over  the  press,  but  heaven 
knows  how.  Think  what  I  have  on  hand  and  the 
post  going  out  to-morrow.  Do  you  remember  the 
epitaph  on  Voltaire  ? 

"  «  Ci-git  1'enfant  gate",'  &c. 

«  «  Here  lies  the  spoilt  child 

Of  the  world  which  he  spoil'd.' 

The  original  is  in  Grimm  and  Diderot,  &c.  &c.  &c." 

LETTER  374.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

«  Ravenna,  May  24.  1820. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  a  few  days  ago.  There  is  also 
a  letter  of  January  last  for  you  at  Murray's,  which 
will  explain  to  you  why  I  am  here.  Murray  ought 
to  have  forwarded  it  long  ago.  I  enclose  you  an 
epistle  from  a  countrywoman  of  yours  at  Paris, 
which  has  moved  my  entrails.  You  will  have 
the  goodness,  perhaps,  to  enquire  into  the  truth 
of  her  story,  and  I  will  help  her  as  far  as  I  can,  — 
though  not  in  the  useless  way  she  proposes.  Her 
letter  is  evidently  unstudied,  and  so  natural,  that 
the  orthography  is  also  in  a  state  of  nature. 

314  NOTICES    OF    THE  J820. 

"  Here  is  a  poor  creature,  ill  and  solitary,  who 
thinks,  as  a  last  resource,  of  translating  you  or  me 
into  French  I  Was  there  ever  such  a  notion  ?  It 
seems  to  me  the  consummation  of  despair.  Pray 
enquire,  and  let  me  know,  and,  if  you  could  draw 
a  bill  on  me  here  for  a  few  hundred  francs,  at  your 
banker's,  I  will  duly  honour  it,  —  that  is,  if  she  is 
not  an  impostor.  *  If  not,  let  me  know,  that  I  may 
get  something  remitted  by  my  banker  Longhi,  of 
Bologna,  for  I  have  no  correspondence  myself,  at 
Paris :  but  tell  her  she  must  not  translate  ;  —  if  she 
does,  it  will  be  the  height  of  ingratitude. 

"  I  had  a  letter  (not  of  the  same  kind,  but  in 
French  and  flattery)  from  a  Madame  Sophie  Gail, 
of  Paris,  whom  I  take  to  be  the  spouse  of  a  Gallo- 
Greek  of  that  name.  Who  is  she  ?  and  what  is  she  ? 
and  how  came  she  to  take  an  interest  in  my  poeshie 
or  its  author  ?  If  you  know  her,  tell  her,  with  my 
compliments,  that,  as  I  only  read  French,  I  have 
not  answered  her  letter ;  but  would  have  done  so 
in  Italian,  if  I  had  not  thought  it  would  look  like  an 
affectation.  I  have  just  been  scolding  my  monkey 

*  According  to  his  desire,  I  waited  upon  this  young  lady, 
having  provided  myself  with  a  rouleau  of  fifteen  or  twenty 
Napoleons  to  present  to  her  from  his  Lordship  ;  but,  with  a 
very  creditable  spirit,  my  young  countrywoman  declined  the 
gift,  saying  that  Lord  Byron  had  mistaken  the  object  of  her 
application  to  him,  which  was  to  request  that,  by  allowing  her 
to  have  the  sheets  of  some  of  his  works  before  publication,  he 
would  enable  her  to  prepare  early  translations  for  the  French 
booksellers,  and  thus  afford  her  the  means  of  acquiring  some- 
thing towards  a  livelihood. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  315 

for  tearing  the  seal  of  her  letter,  and  spoiling  a 
mock  book,  in  which  I  put  rose  leaves.  I  had  a 
civet-cat  the  other  day,  too ;  but  it  ran  away,  after 
scratching  my  monkey's  cheek,  and  I  am  in  search 
of  it  still.  It  was  the  fiercest  beast  I  ever  saw,  and 
like  *  *  in  the  face  and  manner. 

"  I  have  a  world  of  things  to  say ;  but,  as  they 
are  not  come  to  a  denouement,  I  don't  care  to  begin 
their  history  till  it  is  wound  up.  After  you  went, 
I  had  a  fever,  but  got  well  again  without  bark. 
Sir  Humphry  Davy  was  here  the  other  day,  and 
liked  Ravenna  very  much.  He  will  tell  you  any 
thing  you  may  wish  to  know  about  the  place  and 
your  humble  servitor. 

"  Your  apprehensions  (arising  from  Scott's)  were 
unfounded.  There  are  no  damages  in  this  country, 
but  there  will  probably  be  a  separation  between 
them,  as  her  family,  which  is  a  principal  one,  by  its 
connections,  are  very  much  against  him,  for  the 
whole  of  his  conduct ;  —  and  he  is  old  and  obstinate, 
and  she  is  young  and  a  woman,  determined  to  sacri- 
fice every  thing  to  her  affections.  I  have  given  her 
the  best  advice,  viz.  to  stay  with  him,  —  pointing 
out  the  state  of  a  separated  woman,  (for  the  priests 
won't  let  lovers  live  openly  together,  unless  the 
husband  sanctions  it,)  and  making  the  most  ex- 
quisite moral  reflections,  —  but  to  no  purpose.  She 
says,  *  I  will  stay  with  him,  if  he  will  let  you  remain 
with  me.  It  is  hard  that  I  should  be  the  only 
woman  in  Romagna  who  is  not  to  have  her  Amico ; 
but,  if  not,  I  will  not  live  with  him  ;  and  as  for  the 

316  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

consequences,  love,  &c.  &c.  &c.'  —  you  know  how 
females  reason  on  such  occasions. 

"  He  says  he  has  let  it  go  on  till  he  can  do  so  no 
longer.  But  he  wants  her  to  stay,  and  dismiss  me ; 
for  he  doesn't  like  to  pay  back  her  dowry  and  to 
make  an  alimony.  Her  relations  are  rather  for  the 
separation,  as  they  detest  him, — indeed,  so  does 
every  body.  The  populace  and  the  women  are,  as 
usual,  all  for  those  who  are  in  the  wrong,  viz.  the 
lady  and  her  lover.  I  should  have  retreated,  but 
honour,  and  an  erysipelas  which  has  attacked  her, 
prevent  me,  —  to  say  nothing  of  love,  for  I  love  her 
most  entirely,  though  not  enough  to  persuade  her 
to  sacrifice  every  thing  to  a  frenzy.  '  I  see  how  it 
will  end ;  she  will  be  the  sixteenth  Mrs.  Shuffleton.' 

"  My  paper  is  finished,  and  so  must  this  letter. 
"  Yours  ever,  B. 

"  P.  S.  I  regret  that  you  have  not  completed  the 
Italian  Fudges.  Pray,  how  come  you  to  be  still  in 
Paris  ?  Murray  has  four  or  five  things  of  mine  in 
hand — the  new  Don  Juan,  which  his  back-shop 
synod  don't  admire; — a  translation  of  the  first 
Canto  of  Pulci's  Morgante  Maggiore,  excellent; — 
a  short  ditto  from  Dante,  not  so  much  approved; 
the  Prophecy  of  Dante,  very  grand  and  worthy,  &c. 
&c.  &c. ; — a  furious  prose  answer  to  Blackwood's 
Observations  on  Don  Juan,  with  a  savage  Defence  of 
Pope — likely  to  make  a  row.  The  opinions  above 
I  quote  from  Murray  and  his  Utican  senate; — you 
will  form  your  own,  when  you  see  the  things. 

"  You  will  have  no  great  chance  of  seeing  me,  for 

1320.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  317 

I  begin  to  think  I  must  finish  in  Italy.  But,  if  you 
come  my  way,  you  shall  have  a  tureen  of  macaroni. 
Pray  tell  me  about  yourself,  and  your  intents. 

"  My  trustees  are  going  to  lend  Earl  Blessington 
sixty  thousand  pounds  (at  six  per  cent.)  on  a  Dublin 
mortgage.  Only  think  of  my  becoming  an  Irish 
absentee ! " 

LETTER  375.      TO  MR.  HOPPNER. 

"  Ravenna,  May  25.  1820. 

"  A  German  named  Ruppsecht  has  sent  me, 
heaven  knows  why,  several  Deutsche  Gazettes,  of 
all  which  I  understand  neither  word  nor  letter.  I 
have  sent  you  the  enclosed  to  beg  you  to  translate 
to  me  some  remarks,  which  appear  to  be  Goethe's 
upon  Manfred — and  if  I  may  judge  by  two  notes  of 
admiration  (generally  put  after  something  ridiculous 
by  us)  and  the  word  '  hypocondrisch,'  are  any  thing 
but  favourable.  I  shall  regret  this,  for  I  should 
have  been  proud  of  Goethe's  good  word;  but  I 
sha'n't  alter  my  opinion  of  him,  even  though  he 
should  be  savage. 

"  Will  you  excuse  this  trouble,  and  do  me  this 
favour?  —  Never  mind — soften  nothing — I  am  lite- 
rary proof — having  had  good  and  evil  said  in  most 
modern  languages. 

"  Believe  me,"  &c. 

LETTER  376.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Ravenna,  June  1.  1820, 

"  I  have  received  a  Parisian  letter  from  W.  W.> 
which  I  prefer  answering  through  you,  if  that  worthy 

318  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

be  still  at  Paris,  and,  as  he  says,  an  occasional  visiter 
of  yours.  In  November  last  he  wrote  to  me  a  well- 
meaning  letter,  stating,  for  some  reasons  of  his  own, 
his  belief  that  a  re-union  might  be  effected  between 
Lady  B.  and  myself.  To  this  I  answered  as  usual ; 
and  he  sent  me  a  second  letter,  repeating  his 
notions,  which  letter  I  have  never  answered,  having 
had  a  thousand  other  things  to  think  of.  He  now 
writes  as  if  he  believed  that  he  had  offended  me  by 
touching  on  the  topic ;  and  I  wish  you  to  assure  him 
that  I  am.  not  at  all  so, — but,  on  the  contrary, 
obliged  by  his  good  nature.  At  the  same  time 
acquaint  him  the  thing  is  impossible.  You  know 
this,  as  well  as  I, — and  there  let  it  end. 

"  I  believe  that  I  showed  you  his  epistle  in  autumn 
last.  He  asks  me  if  I  have  heard  of  my  <  laureat' 
at  Paris  * , —  somebody  who  has  written  <  a  most 
sanguinary  Epitre'  against  me ;  but  whether  in 
French,  or  Dutch,  or  on  what  score,  I  know  not, 
and  he  don't  say, — except  that  (for  my  satisfaction) 
he  says  it  is  the  best  thing  in  the  fellow's  volume. 
If  there  is  any  thing  of  the  kind  that  I  ought  to 
know,  you  will  doubtless  tell  me.  I  suppose  it  to 
be  something  of  the  usual  sort; — he  says,  he  don't 
remember  the  author's  name. 

"  I  wrote  to  you  some  ten  days  ago,  and  expect 
an  answer  at  your  leisure. 

"  The  separation  business  still  continues,  and  all 
the  world  are  implicated,  including  priests  and 
cardinals.  The  public  opinion  is  furious  against 

*  M.  Lamartine. 


LIFE    OF    LORD    EYRON.  319 

him,  because  he  ought  to  have  cut  the  matter  short 
at  first,  and  not  waited  twelve  months  to  begin. 
He  has  been  trying  at  evidence,  but  can  get  none 
sufficient;  for  what  would  make  fifty  divorces  in 
England  won't  do  here  —  there  must  be  the  most 
decided  proofs. 

"  It  is  the  first  cause  of  the  kind  attempted  in 
Ravenna  for  these  two  hundred  years ;  for,  though 
they  often  separate,  they  assign  a  different  motive. 
You  know  that  the  continental  incontinent  are  more 
delicate  than  the  English,  and  don't  like  proclaiming 
their  coronation  in  a  court,  even  when  nobody 
doubts  it. 

"  All  her  relations  are  furious  against  him.  The 
father  has  challenged  him  —  a  superfluous  valour, 
for  he  don't  fight,  though  suspected  of  two  assassi- 
nations—  one  of  the  famous  Monzoni  of  Forli. 
Warning  was  given  me  not  to  take  such  long  rides 
in  the  Pine  Forest  without  being  on  my  guard ;  so  I 
take  my  stiletto  and  a  pair  of  pistols  in  my  pocket 
during  my  daily  rides. 

"  I  won't  stir  from  this  place  till  the  matter  is 
settled  one  way  or  the  other.  She  is  as  femininely 
firm  as  possible ;  and  the  opinion  is  so  much  against 
him,  that  the  advocates  decline  to  undertake  his 
cause,  because  they  say  that  he  is  either  a  fool  or  a 
rogue — fool,  if  he  did  not  discover  the  liaison  till 
now ;  and  rogue,  if  he  did  know  it,  and  waited,  for 
some  bad  end,  to  divulge  it.  In  short,  there  has 
been  nothing  like  it  since  the  days  of  Guido  di 
Polenta's  family,  in  these  parts. 

"  If  the  man  has  me  taken  off,  like  Polonius  <  say,  he 

320  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

made  a  good  end,' — for  a  melodrame.  The  princi- 
pal security  is,  that  he  has  not  the  courage  to 
spend  twenty  scudi — the  average  price  of  a  clean- 
handed bravo  —  otherwise  there  is  no  want  of  oppor- 
tunity, for  I  ride  about  the  woods  every  evening, 
with  one  servant,  and  sometimes  an  acquaintance, 
who  latterly  looks  a  little  queer  in  solitary  bits  of 

"  Good  bye. — Write  to  yours  ever,"  &c. 

LETTER  377.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  June  7.  1820. 

"  Enclosed  is  something  which  will  interest  you,  to 
wit,  the  opinion  of  the  greatest  man  of  Germany — 
perhaps  of  Europe — upon  one  of  the  great  men  of 
your  advertisements,  (all  *  famous  hands,'  as  Jacob 
Tonson  used  to  say  of  his  ragamuffins,) — in  short,  a 
critique  of  Goethe's  upon  Manfred.  There  is  the 
original,  an  English  translation,  and  an  Italian  one ; 
keep  them  all  in  your  archives, — for  the  opinions  of 
such  a  man  as  Goethe,  whether  favourable  or  not, 
are  always  interesting — and  this  is  more  so,  as 
favourable.  His  Faust  I  never  read,  for  I  don't 
know  German;  but  Matthew  Monk  Lewis,  in  1816, 
at  Coligny,  translated  most  of  it  to  me  viva  voce, 
and  I  was  naturally  much  struck  with  it ;  but  it  was 
the  Steinbach  and  the  Jungfrau,  and  something 
else,  much  more  than  Faustus,  that  made  me  write 
Manfred.  The  first  scene,  however,  and  that  of 
Faustus  are  very  similar.  Acknowledge  this  letter. 

"  Yours  ever. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  321 

"  P.  S.  I  have  received  Ivanhoe  ; — good.  Pray 
send  me  some  tooth-powder  and  tincture  of  myrrh, 
by  White,  &c.  Ricciardetto  should  have  been  trans- 
lated literally,  or  not  at  all.  As  to  puffing  Whistle- 
craft,  it  wont  do.  I'll  tell  you  why  some  day  or 
other.  Cornwall's  a  poet,  but  spoilt  by  the  detest- 
able schools  of  the  day.  Mrs.  Hemans  is  a  poet 
also,  but  too  stiltified  and  apostrophic,  —  and  quite 
wrong.  Men  died  calmly  before  the  Christian  era, 
and  since,  without  Christianity :  witness  the  Romans, 
and,  lately,  Thistlewood,  Sandt,  and  Lovel  —  men 
who  ought  to  have  been  weighed  down  with  their 
crimes,  even  had  they  believed.  A  deathbed  is  a 
matter  of  nerves  and  constitution,  and  not  of  reli- 
gion. Voltaire  was  frightened,  Frederick  of  Prussia 
not :  Christians  the  same,  according  to  their  strength 
rather  than  their  creed.  What  does  H  *  *  H  *  * 
mean  by  his  stanza?  which  is  octave  got  drunk  or 
gone  mad.  He  ought  to  have  his  ears  boxed  with 
Thor's  hammer  for  rhyming  so  fantastically." 

The  following  is  the  article  from  Goethe's  "  Kunst 
und  Alterthum,"  enclosed  in  this  letter.  The  grave 
confidence  with  which  the  venerable  critic  traces  the 
fancies  of  his  brother  poet  to  real  persons  and  events, 
making  no  difficulty  even  of  a  double  murder  at  Flo- 
rence to  furnish  grounds  for  his  theory,  affords  an 
amusing  instance  of  the  disposition  so  prevalent 
throughout  Europe,  to  picture  Byron  as  a  man  of 
marvels  and  mysteries,  as  well  in  his  life  as  his 
poetry.  To  these  exaggerated,  or  wholly  false  no- 
tions of  him,  the  numerous  fictions  palmed  upon  the 

VOL.  IV.  Y 

322  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

world  of  his  romantic  tours  and  wonderful  adventures 
in  places  he  never  saw,  and  with  persons  that  never 
existed  *,  have,  no  doubt,  considerably  contributed ; 
and  the  consequence  is,  so  utterly  out  of  truth  and 
nature  are  the  representations  of  his  life  and  cha- 
racter long  current  upon  the  Continent,  that  it  may 
be  questioned  whether  the  real  "  flesh  and  blood  " 
hero  of  these  pages,  —  the  social,  practical-minded, 
and,  with  all  his  faults  and  eccentricities,  English 
Lord  Byron,  —  may  not,  to  the  over-exalted  imagin- 
ations of  most  of  his  foreign  admirers,  appear  but  an 
ordinary,  unromantic,  and  prosaic  personage. 



"  Byron's  tragedy,  Manfred,  was  to  me  a  wonder- 
ful phenomenon,  and  one  that  closely  touched  me. 
This  singular  intellectual  poet  has  taken  my  Faustus 
to  himself,  and  extracted  from  it  the  strongest 
nourishment  for  his  hypochondriac  humour.  He  has 
made  use  of  the  impelling  principles  in  his  own  way, 

*  Of  this  kind  are  the  accounts,  filled  with  all  sorts  of  cir- 
cumstantial wonders,  of  his  residence  in  the  island  of  Myti- 
lene; — his  voyages  to  Sicily,  —  to  Ithaca,  with  the  Countess 
Guiccioli,  &c.  &c.  But  the  most  absurd,  perhaps,  of  all 
these  fabrications,  are  the  stories  told  by  Pouqueville,  of  the 
poet's  religious  conferences  in  the  cell  of  Father  Paul,  at 
Athens;  and  the  still  more  unconscionable  fiction  in  which 
Rizo  has  indulged,  in  giving  the  details  of  a  pretended  thea- 
trical scene,  got  up  (according  to  this  poetical  historian)  be- 
tween Lord  Byron  and  the  Archbishop  of  Arta,  at  the  tomb 
of  Botzaris,  in  Missolonghi. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  323 

for  his  own  purposes,  so  that  no  one  of  them  remains 
the  same ;  and  it  is  particularly  on  this  account  that 
I  cannot  enough  admire  his  genius.  The  whole  is 
in  this  way  so  completely  formed  anew,  that  it  would 
be  an  interesting  task  for  the  critic  to  point  out 
not  only  the  alterations  he  has  made,  but  their 
degree  of  resemblance  with,  or  dissimilarity  to,  the 
original :  in  the  course  of  which  I  cannot  deny  that 
the  gloomy  heat  of  an  unbounded  and  exuberant 
despair  becomes  at  last  oppressive  to  us.  Yet  is  the 
dissatisfaction  we  feel  always  connected  with  esteem 
and  admiration. 

"  We  find  thus  in  this  tragedy  the  quintessence 
of  the  most  astonishing  talent  born  to  be  its  own 
tormentor.  The  character  of  Lord  Byron's  life  and 
poetry  hardly  permits  a  just  and  equitable  appreci- 
ation. He  has  often  enough  confessed  what  it  is 
that  torments  him.  He  has  repeatedly  pourtrayed 
it ;  and  scarcely  any  one  feels  compassion  for  this 
intolerable  suffering,  over  which  he  is  ever  labo- 
riously ruminating.  There  are,  properly  speaking, 
two  females  whose  phantoms  for  ever  haunt  him,  and 
which,  in  this  piece  also,  perform  principal  parts  — 
one  under  the  name  of  Astarte,  the  other  without 
form  or  actual  presence,  and  merely  a  voice.  Of 
the  horrid  occurrence  which  took  place  with  the 
former,  the  following  is  related  :  — When  a  bold  and 
enterprising  young  man,  he  won  the  affections  of  a 
Florentine  lady.  Her  husband  discovered  the  amour, 
and  murdered  his  wife  ;  but  the  murderer  was  the 
same  night  found  dead  in  the  street,  and  there  was 
Y  2 

S24?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

no  one  on  whom  any  suspicion  could  be  attached. 
Lord  Byron  removed  from  Florence,  and  these 
spirits  haunted  him  all  his  life  after, 

"  This  romantic  incident  is  rendered  highly  pro- 
bable by  innumerable  allusions  to  it  in  his  poems. 
As,  for  instance,  when  turning  his  sad  contempla- 
tions inwards,  he  applies  to  himself  the  fatal  history 
of  the  king  of  Sparta.  It  is  as  follows  :  —  Pausanias, 
a  Lacedemonian  general,  acquires  glory  by  the  im- 
portant victory  at  Plataea,  but  afterwards  forfeits  the 
confidence  of  his  countrymen  through  his  arrogance, 
obstinacy,  and  secret  intrigues  with  the  enemies  of 
his  country.  This  man  draws  upon  himself  the 
heavy  guilt  of  innocent  blood,  which  attends  him  to 
his  end ;  for,  while  commanding  the  fleet  of  the 
allied  Greeks,  in  the  Black  Sea,  he  is  inflamed  with 
a  violent  passion  for  a  Byzantine  maiden.  After 
long  resistance,  he  at  length  obtains  her  from  her 
parents,  and  she  is  to  be  delivered  up  to  him  at 
night.  She  modestly  desires  the  servant  to  put  out 
the  lamp,  and,  while  groping  her  way  in  the  dark, 
she  overturns  it.  Pausanias  is  awakened  from  his 
sleep  —  apprehensive  of  an  attack  from  murderers, 
he  seizes  his  sword,  and  destroys  his  mistress.  The 
horrid  sight  never  leaves  him.  Her  shade  pursues 
him  unceasingly,  and  he  implores  for  aid  in  vain  from 
the  gods  and  the  exorcising  priests. 

"  That  poet  must  have  a  lacerated  heart  who 
selects  such  a  scene  from  antiquity,  appropriates  it 
to  himself,  and  burdens  his  tragic  image  with  it. 
The  following  soliloquy,  which  is  overladen  with 
gloom  and  a  weariness  of  life,  is,  by  this  remark,  ren- 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  325 

dered  intelligible.  We  recommend  it  as  an  exercise 
to  all  friends  of  declamation.  Hamlet's  soliloquy 
appears  improved  upon  here."  * 

LETTER  378.          TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Ravenna,  June  9.  1820. 

"  Galignani  has  just  sent  me  the  Paris  edition  of 
your  Vorks  (which  I  wrote  to  order),  and  I  am  glad 
to  see  my  old  friends  with  a  French  face.  I  have 
been  skimming  and  dipping,  in  and  over  them,  like 
a  swallow,  and  as  pleased  as  one.  It  is  the  first  time 
that  I  had  seen  the  Melodies  without  music ;  and, 
I  don't  know  how,  but  I  can't  read  in  a  music-book 
—  the  crotchets  confound  the  words  in  my  head, 
though  I  recollect  them  perfectly  when  sung.  Music 
assists  my  memory  through  the  ear,  not  through  the 
eye ;  I  mean,  that  her  quavers  perplex  me  upon 
paper,  but  they  are  a  help  when  heard.  And  thus  I 
was  glad  to  see  the  words  without  their  borrowed 
robes  ; —  to  my  mind  they  look  none  the  worse  for 
their  nudity. 

"  The  biographer  has  made  a  botch  of  your  life — 
calling  your  father  *  a  venerable  old  gentleman,'  and 
prattling  of  '  Addison,'  and  *  dowager  countesses.' 
If  that  damned  fellow  was  to  write  my  life,  I  would 
certainly  take  his.  And  then,  at  the  Dublin  dinner, 
you  have  *  made  a  speech '  (do  you  recollect,  at 

*  The  critic  here  subjoins  the  soliloquy  from  Manfred,  be- 
ginning "  We  are  the  fools  of  time  and  terror,"  in  which  the 
allusion  to  Pausanias  occurs. 

Y   3 

326  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

Douglas  K.'s,  «  Sir,  he  made  me  a  speech  ? ')  too 
complimentary  to  the  <  living  poets,'  and  somewhat 
redolent  of  universal  praise.  /  am  but  too  well  off 
in  it,  but  *  *  *. 

"  You  have  not  sent  me  any  poetical  or  personal 
news  of  yourself.  Why  don't  you  complete  an 
Italian  Tour  of  the  Fudges  ?  I  have  just  been  turn- 
ing over  Little,  which  I  knew  by  heart  in  1803, 
being  then  in  my  fifteenth  summer.  Heigho  !  I  be- 
lieve all  the  mischief  I  have  ever  done,  or  sung,  has 
been  owing  to  that  confounded  book  of  yours. 

"  In  my  last  I  told  you  of  a  cargo  of  '  Poeshie,' 
which  I  had  sent  to  M.  at  his  own  impatient  desire  J 
—  and,  now  he  has  got  it,  he  don't  like  it,  and  de- 
murs. Perhaps  he  is  right.  I  have  no  great 
opinion  of  any  of  my  last  shipment,  except  a  trans- 
lation from  Pulci,  which  is  word  for  word,  and  verse 
for  verse. 

"  I  am  in  the  third  Act  of  a  Tragedy ;  but 
whether  it  will  be  finished  or  not,  I  know  not :  I 
have,  at  this  present,  too  many  passions  of  my  own 
on  hand  to  do  justice  to  those  of  the  dead.  Besides 
the  vexations  mentioned  in  my  last,  I  have  incurred 
a  quarrel  with  the  Pope's  carabiniers,  or  gens 
d'armerie,  who  have  petitioned  the  Cardinal  against 
my  liveries,  as  resembling  too  nearly  their  own  lousy 
uniform.  They  particularly  object  to  the  epaulettes, 
which  all  the  world  with  us  have  on  upon  gala  days. 
My  liveries  are  of  the  colours  conforming  to  my 
arms,  and  have  been  the  family  hue  since  the  year 

"  I  have  sent  a  tranchant  reply,  as  you  may  sup- 

1820.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  327 

pose ;  and  have  given  to  understand  that,  if  any 
soldados  of  that  respectable  corps  insult  my  ser- 
vants, I  will  do  likewise  by  their  gallant  comman- 
ders ;  and  I  have  directed  my  ragamuffins,  six  in 
number,  who  are  tolerably  savage,  to  defend  them- 
selves, in  case  of  aggression ;  and,  on  holidays  and 
gaudy  days,  I  shall  arm  the  whole  set,  including  my- 
self, in  case  of  accidents  or  treachery.  I  used  to  play 
pretty  well  at  the  broad-sword,  once  upon  a  time,  at 
Angelo's  ;  but  I  should  like  the  pistol,  our  national 
buccaneer  weapon,  better,  though  I  am  out  of  prac- 
tice at  present.  However,  I  can  '  wink  and  hold  out 
mine  iron.'  It  makes  me  think  (the  whole  thing  does) 
of  Romeo  and  Juliet  —  *  now,  Gregory,  remember 
thy  swashing  blow.' 

"  All  these  feuds,  however,  with  the  Cavalier  for 
his  wife,  and  the  troopers  for  my  liveries,  are  very 
tiresome  to  a  quiet  man,  who  does  his  best  to  please 
all  the  world,  and  longs  for  fellowship  and  good  will. 
Pray  write.  I  am  yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  379.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Ravenna,  July  13.  1820. 

"  To  remove  or  increase  your  Irish  anxiety  about 
my  being  *  in  a  wisp*,'  I  answer  your  letter  forth- 
with ;  premising  that,  as  I  am  a  '  Will  of  the  wisp,' 
I  may  chance  to  flit  out  of  it.  But,  first,  a  word  on 
the  Memoir ;  —  I  have  no  objection,  nay,  I  would 
rather  that  one  correct  copy  was  taken  and  deposit- 

*  An  Irish  phrase  for  being  in  a  scrape. 
Y   4. 

328  NOTICES    OF    THE 


ed  in  honourable  hands,  in  case  of  accidents  happen- 
ing to  the  original ;  for  you  know  that  I  have  none, 
and  have  never  even  re-read,  nor,  indeed,  read  at  all 
what  is  there  written ;  I  only  know  that  I  wrote  it 
with  the  fullest  intention  to  be  l  faithful  and  true ' 
in  my  narrative,  but  not  impartial  —  no,  by  the 
Lord  !  I  can't  pretend  to  be  that,  while  I  feel.  But 
I  wish  to  give  every  body  concerned  the  opportunity 
to  contradict  or  correct  me. 

"  I  have  no  objection  to  any  proper  person  seeing 
what  is  there  written,  —  seeing  it  was  written,  like 
every  thing  else,  for  the  purpose  of  being  read,  how- 
ever much  many  writings  may  fail  in  arriving  at  that 

"  With  regard  to  '  the  wisp,'  the  Pope  has  pro- 
nounced their  separation.  The  decree  came  yester- 
day from  Babylon,  —  it  was  she  and  her  friends  who 
demanded  it,  on  the  grounds  of  her  husband's  (the 
noble  Count  Cavalier's)  extraordinary  usage.  He 
opposed  it  with  all  his  might  because  of  the  alimony, 
which  has  been  assigned,  with  all  her  goods,  chat- 
tels, carriage,  &c.  to  be  restored  by  him.  In  Italy 
they  can't  divorce.  He  insisted  on  her  giving  me 
up,  and  he  would  forgive  every  thing,  —  *  * 
*  *  *  *  * 

*  *  *  But,  in  this  country,  the  very 
courts  hold  such  proofs  in  abhorrence,  the  Italians 
being  as  much  more  delicate  in  public  than  the 
English,  as  they  are  more  passionate  in  private. 

"  The  friends  and  relatives,  who  are  numerous  and 
powerful,  reply  to  him  —  '  You,  yourself,  are  either 
fool  or  knave,  —  fool,  if  you  did  not  see  the  conse- 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD   BYRON.  329 

quences  of  the  approximation  of  these  two  young 
persons,  • —  knave,  if  you  connive  at  it.  Take  your 
choice, — but  don't  break  out  (after  twelve  months  of 
the  closest  intimacy,  under  your  own  eyes  and  posi- 
tive sanction)  with  a  scandal,  which  can  only  make 
you  ridiculous  and  her  unhappy.' 

"  He  swore  that  he  thought  our  intercourse  was 
purely  amicable,  and  that  /  was  more  partial  to  him 
than  to  her,  till  melancholy  testimony  proved  the 
contrary.  To  this  they  answer,  that  *  Will  of  this 
wisp'  was  not  an  unknown  person,  and  that  '  clamosa 
Fama'  had  not  proclaimed  the  purity  of  my  morals  ; 
—  that  her  brother,  a  year  ago,  wrote  from  Rome  to 
warn  him  that  his  wife  would  infallibly  be  led  astray 
by  this  ignis  fatuus,  unless  he  took  proper  measures, 
all  of  which  he  neglected  to  take,  &c.  &c. 

"  Now  he  says  that  he  encouraged  my  return  to 
Ravenna,  to  see  *  in  quantipiedi  di  acqua  siamo,'  and 
he  has  found  enough  to  drown  him  in.  In  short, 

"  *  Ce  ne  fut  pas  le  tout ;  sa  femme  se  plaignit — 
Proces  —  La  parente  se  joint  en  excuse  et  dit 
Que  du  Docteur  venoit  tout  le  mauvais  manage  ; 
Que  cet  homme  e"toit  fou,  que  sa  femme  etoit  sage. 
On  fit  casser  le  mariage.' 

It  is  but  to  let  the  women  alone,  in  the  way  of  con- 
flict, for  they  are  sure  to  win  against  the  field.  She 
returns  to  her  father's  house,  and  I  can  only  see  her 
under  great  restrictions — such  is  the  custom  of  the 
country.  The  relations  behave  very  well : — I  offered 
any  settlement,  but  they  refused  to  accept  it,  and 
swear  she  shdrit  live  with  G.  (as  he  has  tried  to 
prove  her  faithless),  but  that  he  shall  maintain  her ; 

330  NOTICES    OF    THE  182O. 

and,  in  fact,  a  judgment  to  this  effect  came  yester- 
day. I  am,  of  course,  in  an  awkward  situation 

"  I  have  heard  no  more  of  the  carabiniers  who  pro- 
tested against  my  liveries.  They  are  not  popular, 
those  same  soldiers,  and,  in  a  small  row,  the  other 
night,  one  was  slain,  another  wounded,  and  divers 
put  to  flight,  by  some  of  the  Romagnuole  youth,  who 
are  dexterous,  and  somewhat  liberal  of  the  knife. 
The  perpetrators  are  not  discovered,  but  I  hope 
and  believe  that  none  of  my  ragamuffins  were  in  it, 
though  they  are  somewhat  savage,  and  secretly 
armed,  like  most  of  the  inhabitants.  It  is  their  way, 
and  saves  sometimes  a  good  deal  of  litigation. 

"  There  is  a  revolution  at  Naples.  If  so,  it  will 
probably  leave  a  card  at  Ravenna  in  its  way  to  Lom- 

"  Your  publishers  seem  to  have  used  you  like  mine. 
M.  has  shuffled,  and  almost  insinuated  that  my  last 
productions  are  dull.  Dull,  sir  !  —  damme,  dull ! 
I  believe  he  is  right.  He  begs  for  the  completion  of 
my  tragedy  on  Marino  Faliero,  none  of  which  is  yet 
gone  to  England.  The  fifth  act  is  nearly  completed, 
but  it  is  dreadfully  long  —  40  sheets  of  long  paper 
of  4  pages  each  —  about  150  when  printed  ;  but 
'  so  full  of  pastime  and  prodigality '  that  I  think  it 
will  do. 

"  Pray  send  and  publish  your  Pome  upon  me ;  and 
don't  be  afraid  of  praising  me  too  highly.  I  shall 
pocket  my  blushes. 

" « Not  actionable ! '  —  Chantre  cfenfer  /* — by  *  * 

*  The  title  given  him  by  M.  Lamartine,  in  one  of  his 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  331 

that's  'a  speech,'  and  I  won't  put  up  with  it.  A 
pretty  title  to  give  a  man  for  doubting  if  there  be 
any  such  place ! 

"  So  my  Gail  is  gone  —  and  Miss  Mahoray  won't 
take  money.  I  am  very  glad  of  it  —  I  like  to  be 
generous  free  of  expense.  But  beg  her  not  to 
translate  me. 

"  Oh,  pray  tell  Galignani  that  I  shall  send  him  a 
screed  of  doctrine  if  he  don't  be  more  punctual. 
Somebody  regularly  detains  two,  and  sometimes  four, 
of  his  Messengers  by  the  way.  Do,  pray,  entreat 
him  to  be  more  precise.  News  are  worth  money  in 
this  remote  kingdom  of  the  Ostrogoths. 

"  Pray,  reply.  I  should  like  much  to  share  some 
of  your  Champagne  and  La  Fitte,  but  I  am  too 
Italian  for  Paris  in  general.  Make  Murray  send  my 
letter  to  you  —  it  is  full  of  epigrams. 

"  Yours,"  &c. 

In  the  separation  that  had  now  taken  place  be- 
tween Count  Guiccioli  and  his  wife,  it  was  one  of 
the  conditions  that  the  lady  should,  in  future,  reside 
under  the  paternal  roof: — in  consequence  of  which, 
Madame  Guiccioli,  on  the  16th  of  July,  left  Ravenna 
and  retired  to  a  villa  belonging  to  Count  Gamba, 
about  fifteen  miles  distant  from  that  city.  Here 
Lord  Byron  occasionally  visited  her  —  about  once 
or  twice,  perhaps,  in  a  month  —  passing  the  rest  of 
his  time  in  perfect  solitude.  To  a  mind  like  his, 
whose  world  was  within  itself,  such  a  mode  of  life 
could  have  been  neither  new  nor  unwelcome  ;  but 
to  the  woman,  young  and  admired,  whose  acquaint- 

332  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

ance  with  the  world  and  its  pleasures  had  but  just 
begun,  this  change  was,  it  must  be  confessed,  most 
sudden  and  trying.  Count  Guiccioli  was  rich,  and, 
as  a  young  wife,  she  had  gained  absolute  power  over 
him.  She  was  proud,  and  his  station  placed  her 
among  the  highest  in  Ravenna.  They  had  talked  of 
travelling  to  Naples,  Florence,  Paris,  —  and  every 
luxury,  in  short,  that  wealth  could  command  was  at 
her  disposal. 

All  this  she  now  voluntarily  and  determinedly 
sacrificed  for  Byron.  Her  splendid  home  abandoned 
—  her  relations  all  openly  at  war  with  her  —  her 
kind  father  but  tolerating,  from  fondness,  what  he 
could  not  approve  —  she  was  now,  upon  a  pittance 
of  C200l.  a  year,  living  apart  from  the  world,  her  sole 
occupation  the  task  of  educating  herself  for  her 
illustrious  friend,  and  her  sole  reward  the  few  brief 
glimpses  of  him  which  their  now  restricted  inter- 
course allowed.  Of  the  man  who  could  inspire  and 
keep  alive  so  devoted  a  feeling,  it  may  be  pronounced 
with  confidence  that  he  could  not  have  been  such 
as,  in  the  freaks  of  his  own  wayward  humour,  he  re- 
presented himself;  while,  on  the  lady's  side,  the 
whole  history  of  her  attachment  goes  to  prove  how 
completely  an  Italian  woman,  whether  by  nature  or 
from  her  social  position,  is  led  to  invert  the  usual 
course  of  such  frailties  among  ourselves,  and,  weak 
in  resisting  the  first  impulses  of  passion,  to  reserve 
the  whole  strength  of  her  character  for  a  display  of 
constancy  and  devotedness  afterwards. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    El'RON.  333" 

LKTTER  380.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  July  17.  1820. 

"  I  have  received  some  books,  and  Quarterlies,  and 
Edinburghs,  for  all  which  I  am  grateful :  they  con- 
tain all  I  know  of  England,  except  by  Galignani's 

"  The  tragedy  is  completed,  but  now  comes  the 
task  of  copy  and  correction.  It  is  very  long,  (42 
sheets  of  long  paper,  of  four  pages  each,)  and  I  be- 
lieve must  make  more  than  140  or  150  pages,  besides 
many  historical  extracts  as  notes,  which  I  mean  to 
append.  History  is  closely  followed.  Dr.  Moore's 
account  is  in  some  respects  false,  and  in  all  foolish 
and  flippant.  None  of  the  chronicles  (and  I  have 
consulted  Sanuto,  Sandi,  Navagero,  and  an  anony- 
mous Siege  of  Zara,  besides  the  histories  of  Laugier, 
Daru,  Sismondi,  &c.)  state,  or  even  hint,  that  he 
begged  his  life ;  they  merely  say  that  he  did  not 
deny  the  conspiracy.  He  was  one  of  their  great 
men,  —  commanded  at  the  siege  of  Zara, —  beat 
80,000  Hungarians,  killing  8000,  and  at  the  same 
time  kept  the  town  he  was  besieging  in  order,  — • 
took  Capo  d'Istria,  —  was  ambassador  at  Genoa, 
Rome,  and  finally  Doge,  where  he  fell  for  treason, 
in  attempting  to  alter  the  government,  by  what  Sa- 
nuto calls  a  judgment  on  him  for,  many  years  before 
(when  Podesta  and  Captain  of  Treviso),  having 
knocked  down  a  bishop,  who  was  sluggish  in  carry- 
ing the  host  at  a  procession.  He  '  saddles  him/  as 
Thwackum  did  Square,  'with  a  judgment;'  but  he 
does  not  mention  whether  he  had  been  punished  at 

334?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

the  time  for  what  would  appear  very  strange,  even 
now,  and  must  have  been  still  more  so  in  an  age  of 
papal  power  and  glory.  Sanuto  says,  that  Heaven 
took  away  his  senses  for  this  buffet,  and  induced  him 
to  conspire.  '  Pero  fu  permesso  che  il  Faliero  per- 
dette  1'  intelletto,'  &c. 

"  I  do  not  know  what  your  parlour-boarders  will 
think  of  the  Drama  I  have  founded  upon  this  extra- 
ordinary event.  The  only  similar  one  in  history  is 
the  story  of  Agis,  King  of  Sparta,  a  prince  with  the 
commons  against  the  aristocracy,  and  losing  his  life 
therefor.  But  it  shall  be  sent  when  copied. 

"  I  should  be  glad  to  know  why  your  Quar tering 
Reviewers,  at  the  close  of  *  The  Fall  of  Jerusalem,' 
accuse  me  of  Manicheism  ?  a  compliment  to  which 
the  sweetener  of  '  one  of  the  mightiest  spirits '  by 
no  means  reconciles  me.  The  poem  they  review  is 
very  noble ;  but  could  they  not  do  justice  to  the 
writer  without  converting  him  into  my  religious  an- 
tidote ?  I  am  not  a  Manichean,  nor  an  Any-chean. 
I  should  like  to  know  what  harm  my  'poeshies' 
have  done  ?  I  can't  tell  what  people  mean  by  making 
me  a  hobgoblin." 

LETTER  381.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  August  31.  1820. 

"  I  have  *  put  my  soul '  into  the  tragedy  (as  you 
if  it)  ;  but  you  know  that  there  are  d — d  souls  as 
well  as  tragedies.  Recollect  that  it  is  not  a  political 
play,  though  it  may  look  like  it :  it  is  strictly  his- 
torical. Read  the  history  and  judge. 

"  Ada's  picture  is  her  mother's.     I  am  glad  of  it 


LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  335 

the  mother  made  a  good  daughter.  Send  me 

Gifford's  opinion,  and  never  mind  the  Archbishop.  I 
can  neither  send  you  away,  nor  give  you  a  hundred 
pistoles,  nor  a  better  taste  :  I  send  you  a  tragedy, 
and  you  ask  for  *  facetious  epistles ; '  a  little  like 
your  predecessor,  who  advised  Dr.  Prideaux  to 
'  put  some  more  humour  into  his  Life  of  Mahomet.' 

"  Bankes  is  a  wonderful  fellow.  There  is  hardly 
one  of  my  school  or  college  contemporaries  that  has 
not  turned  out  more  or  less  celebrated.  Peel, 
Palmerstone,  Bankes,  Hobhouse,  Tavistock,  Bob 
Mills,  Douglas  Kinnaird,  &c.  &c.  have  all  talked 
and  been  talked  about. 

"  We  are  here  going  to  fight  a  little  next  month, 
if  the  Huns  don't  cross  the  Po,  and  probably  if  they 
do.  I  can't  say  more  now.  If  any  thing  happens, 
you  have  matter  for  a  posthumous  work,  in  MS. ;  so 
pray  be  civil.  Depend  upon  it,  there  will  be  savage 
work,  if  once  they  begin  here.  The  French  courage 
proceeds  from  vanity,  the  German  from  phlegm,  the 
Turkish  from  fanaticism  and  opium,  the  Spanish 
from  pride,  the  English  from  coolness,  the  Dutch 
from  obstinacy,  the  Russian  from  insensibility,  but 
the  Italian  from  anger  ;  so  you'll  see  that  they  will 
spare  nothing." 

LETTER  382.         TO  MR.  MOORE. 

"  Ravenna,  August  31.  1820. 

"  D — n  your  '  mezzo  cammin*' — you  should  say 
*  the  prime  of  life,'  a  much  more  consolatory  phrase. 

*  I  had  congratulated  him  upon  arriving  at  what  Dante 
calls  the  "  mezzo  cammin"  of  life,  the  age  of  thirty-three. 

336  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

Besides,  it  is  not  correct.  I  was  born  in  1788,  and 
consequently  am  but  thirty-two.  You  are  mistaken 
on  another  point.  The  '  Sequin  Box '  never  came 
into  requisition,  nor  is  it  likely  to  do  so.  It  were 
better  that  it  had,  for  then  a  man  is  not  bound,  you 
know.  As  to  reform,  I  did  reform  —  what  would  you 
have  ?  t  Rebellion  lay  in  his  way,  and  he  found  it.f 
I  verily  believe  that  nor  you,  nor  any  man  of  poetical 
temperament,  can  avoid  a  strong  passion  of  some 
kind.  It  is  the  poetry  of  life.  What  should  I  have 
known  or  written,  had  I  been  a  quiet,  mercantile 
politician,  or  a  lord  in  waiting  ?  A  man  must  travel, 
and  turmoil,  or  there  is  no  existence.  Besides,  I 
only  meant  to  be  a  Cavalier  Servente,  and  had  no 
idea  it  would  turn  out  a  romance,  in  the  Anglo 

"  However,  I  suspect  I  know  a  thing  or  two  of 
Italy  —  more  than  Lady  Morgan  has  picked  up  in 
her  posting.  What  do  Englishmen  know  of  Italians 
beyond  their  museums  and  saloons — and  some  hack 
*  *,  en  passant?  Now,  I  have  lived  in  the  heart  of 
their  houses,  in  parts  of  Italy  freshest  and  least  in- 
fluenced by  strangers, — have  seen  and  become  (pars 
magnafui)  a  portion  of  their  hopes,  and  fears,  and 
passions,  and  am  almost  inoculated  into  a  family. 
This  is  to  see  men  and  things  as  they  are. 

"  You  say  that  I  called  you  '  quiet  *  '  —  I  don't 
recollect  any  thing  of  the  sort.  On  the  contrary, 
you  are  always  in  scrapes. 

*  I  had  mistaken  the  concluding  words  of  his  letter  of  the 
9th  of  June. 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  337 

"  What  think  you  of  the  Queen  ?  I  hear  Mr. 
Hoby  says,  '  that  it  makes  him  weep  to  see  her,  she 
reminds  him  so  much  of  Jane  Shore.' 

"  Mr.  Hoby  the  bootmaker's  heart  is  quite  sore, 
For  seeing  the  Queen  makes  him  think  of  Jane  Shore ; 
And,  in  fact,         *         * 

Pray  excuse   this  ribaldry.     What  is  your  poem 
about  ?  Write  and  tell  me  all  about  it  and  you. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  Did  you  write  the  lively  quiz  on  Peter 
Bell  ?  It  has  wit  enough  to  be  yours,  and  almost 
too  much  to  be  any  body  else's  now  going.  It  was 
in  Galignani  the  other  day  or  week." 


"  Ravenna,  September  7.  1820. 

"  In  correcting  the  proofs  you  must  refer  to  the 
manuscript,  because  there  are  in  it  various  readings. 
Pray  attend  to  this,  and  choose  what  GifFord  thinks 
best,  Let  me  hear  what  he  thinks  of  the  whole. 

"  You  speak  of  Lady  *  *  's  illness  ;  she  is  not  of 
those  who  die  :  —  the  amiable  only  do  ;  and  those 
whose  death  would  do  good  live.  Whenever  she  is 
pleased  to  return,  it  may  be  presumed  she  will  take 
her  *  divining  rod '  along  with  her :  it  may  be  of 
use  to  her  at  home,  as  well  as  to  the  '  rich  man '  of 
the  Evangelists. 

"  Pray  do  not  let  the  papers  paragraph  me  back  to 
England.  They  may  say  what  they  please,  any 
loathsome  abuse  but  that.  Contradict  it. 

VOL.  iv.  z 

338  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

"  My  last  letters  will  have  taught  you  to  expect 
an  explosion  here :  it  was  primed  and  loaded,  but 
they  hesitated  to  fire  the  train.  One  of  the  cities 
shirked  from  the  league.  I  cannot  write  more  at 
large  for  a  thousand  reasons.  Our  '  puir  hill  folk  ' 
offered  to  strike,  and  raise  the  first  banner,  but  Bo- 
logna paused  ;  and  now  'tis  autumn,  and  the  season 
half  over.  (  O  Jerusalem  !  Jerusalem  I '  The  Huns 
are  on  the  Po  ;  but  if  once  they  pass  it  on  their  way 
to  Naples,  all  Italy  will  be  behind  them.  The  dogs 
—  the  wolves  —  may  they  perish  like  the  host  of 
Sennacherib  !  If  you  want  to  publish  the  Prophecy 
of  Dante,  you  never  will  have  a  better  time." 

LETTER  384.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Ravenna,  Sept.  11.  182O. 

"  Here  is  another  historical  note  for  you.  I  want 
to  be  as  near  truth  as  the  drama  can  be. 

"  Last  post  I  sent  you  a  note  fierce  as  Faliero 
himself*,  in  answer  to  a  trashy  tourist,  who  pre- 
tends that  he  could  have  been  introduced  to  me.  Let 
me  have  a  proof  of  it,  that  I  may  cut  its  lava  into 
some  shape. 

"  What  Gifford  says  is  very  consolatory  (of  the 
first  act).  English,  sterling  genuine  English,  is  a 
desideratum  amongst  you,  and  I  am  glad  that  I  have 

*  The  angry  note  against  English  travellers  appended  to 
this  tragedy,  in  consequence  of  an  assertion  made  by  some 
recent  tourist,  that  he  (or  as  it  afterwards  turned  out,  she) 
'*  had  repeatedly  declined  an  introduction  to  Lord  Byron 
while  in  Italy." 

1820.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BY11ON-  339 

got  so  much  left ;  though  Heaven  knows  how  I 
retain  it :  I  hear  none  but  from  my  valet,  and  his  is 
Nottinghamshire :  and  I  see  none  but  in  your  new 
publications,  and  theirs  is  no  language  at  all,  but 
jargon.  Even  your  *  *  *  *  is  terribly  stilted  and 
affected,  with  <  very,  very '  so  soft  and  pamby. 

"  Oh !  if  ever  I  do  come  amongst  you  again,  I 
will  give  you  such  a  <  Baviad  and  Maeviad  ! '  not  as 
good  as  the  old,  but  even  better  merited.  There 
never  was  such  a  set  as  your  ragamuffins  (I  mean 
not  yours  only,  but  every  body's).  What  with  the 
Cockneys,  and  the  Lakers,  and  the  followers  of 
Scott,  and  Moore,  and  Byron,  you  are  in  the  very 
uttermost  decline  and  degradation  of  literature.  I 
can't  think  of  it  without  all  the  remorse  of  a  mur- 
derer. I  wish  that  Johnson  were  alive  again  to 
crush  them  I " 

LETTER  385.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  Sept.  14.  1820. 

"  What !  not  a  line  ?  Well,  have  it  your  own 

"  I  wish  you  would  inform  Perry,  that  his  stupid 
paragraph  is  the  cause  of  all  my  newspapers  being 
stopped  in  Paris.  The  fools  believe  me  in  your  in- 
fernal country,  and  have  not  sent  on  their  gazettes, 
so  that  I  know  nothing  of  your  beastly  trial  of  the 

"  I  cannot  avail  myself  of  Mr.  Gifford's  remarks, 
because  I  have  received  none,  except  on  the  first 
act.  Yours,  &c. 

z  2 

340  NOTICES    OF    THE  182O. 

"  P.  S.  Do,  pray,  beg  the  editors  of  papers  to  say 
any  thing  blackguard  they  please ;  but  not  to  put 
me  amongst  their  arrivals.  They  do  me  more  mis- 
chief by  such  nonsense  than  all  their  abuse  can  do." 

LETTER  386.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  Sept.  21.  182O. 

"  So  you  are  at  your  old  tricks  again.  This  is 
the  second  packet  I  have  received  unaccompanied 
by  a  single  line  of  good,  bad,  or  indifferent.  It  is 
strange  that  you  have  never  forwarded  any  further 
observations  of  Gifford's.  How  am  I  to  alter  or 
amend,  if  I  hear  no  further  ?  or  does  this  silence 
mean  that  it  is  well  enough  as  it  is,  or  too  bad  to  be 
repaired  ?  If  the  last,  why  do  you  not  say  so  at 
once,  instead  of  playing  pretty,  while  you  know  that 
soon  or  late  you  must  out  with  the  truth. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  My  sister  tells  me  that  you  sent  to  her 
to  enquire  where  I  was,  believing  in  my  arrival, 
'  driving  a  curricle,'  &c.  &c.  into  Palace-yard.  Do 
you  think  me  a  coxcomb  or  a  madman,  to  be  capable 
of  such  an  exhibition  ?  My  sister  knew  me  better, 
and  told  you,  that  could  not  be  me.  You  might  as 
well  have  thought  me  entering  on  '  a  pale  horse,' 
like  Death  in  the  Revelations." 

LETTER  387.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  Sept.  23.  1820. 

"  Get  from  Mr.  Hobhouse,  and  send  me  a  proof 
(with  the  Latin)  of  my  Hints  from  Horace  :  it  has 

182O.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  31 

now  the  nonum  prematur  in  annum  complete  for  its 
production,  being  written  at  Athens  in  181 1.  I  have 
a  notion  that,  with  some  omissions  of  names  and  pas- 
sages, it  will  do ;  and  I  could  put  my  late  observ- 
ations for  Pope  amongst  the  notes,  with  the  date  of 
1820,  and  so  on.  As  far  as  versification  goes,  it  is 
good ;  and,  on  looking  back  to  what  I  wrote  about 
that  period,  I  am  astonished  to  see  how  little  I  have 
trained  on.  I  wrote  better  then  than  now  ;  but  that 
comes  of  my  having  fallen  into  the  atrocious  bad 
taste  of  the  times.  If  I  can  trim  it  for  present 
publication,  what  with  the  other  things  you  have 
of  mine,  you  will  have  a  volume  or  two  of  variety 
at  least,  for  there  will  be  all  measures,  styles,  and 
topics,  whether  good  or  no.  I  am  anxious  to  hear 
what  Gifford  thinks  of  the  tragedy :  pray  let  me 
know.  I  really  do  not  know  what  to  think  myself. 

"  If  the  Germans  pass  the  Po,  they  will  be  treated 
to  a  mass  out  of  the  Cardinal  de  Retz's  Breviary, 
*  *  's  a  fool,  and  could  not  understand  this  :  Frere 
will.  It  is  as  pretty  a  conceit  as  you  would  wish  to 
see  on  a  summer's  day. 

"  Nobody  here  believes  a  word  of  the  evidence 
against  the  Queen.  The  very  mob  cry  shame  against 
their  countrymen,  and  say,  that  for  half  the  money 
spent  upon  the  trial,  any  testimony  whatever  may 
be  brought  out  of  Italy.  This  you  may  rely  upon 
as  fact.  I  told  you  as  much  before.  As  to  what 
travellers  report,  what  are  travellers  ?  Now  I  have 
lived  among  the  Italians — not  Plorenced,  and  Romed, 
and  galleried,  and  conversationed  it  for  a  few  months, 
and  then  home  again;  but  been  of  their  families, 
z  3 

34>2  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

and  friendships,  and  feuds,  and  loves,  and  councils, 
and  correspondence,  in  a  part  of  Italy  least  known 
to  foreigners,  —  and  have  been  amongst  them  of  all 
classes,  from  the  Conte  to  the  Contadine  ;  and  you 
may  be  sure  of  what  I  say  to  you. 

«  Yours,"  &c. 

LPTTEE  388.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  Sept.  28.  1820. 

«  I  thought  that  I  had  told  you  long  ago,  that  it 
never  was  intended  nor  written  with  any  view  to 
the  stage.  I  have  said  so  in  the  preface  too.  It  is 
too  long  and  too  regular  for  your  stage,  the  persons 
too  few,  and  the  unity  too  much  observed.  It  is 
more  like  a  play  of  Alfieri's  than  of  your  stage  (I  say 
this  humbly  in  speaking  of  that  great  man)  ;  but 
there  is  poetry,  and  it  is  equal  to  Manfred,  though 
I  know  not  what  esteem  is  held  of  Manfred. 

"  I  have  now  been  nearly  as  long  out  of  England 
as  I  was  there  during  the  time  I  saw  you  frequently. 
I  came  home  July  14th,  1811,  and  left  again  April 
25th,  1816:  so  that  Sept.  28th,  1820,  brings  me 
within  a  very  few  months  of  the  same  duration  of 
time  of  my  stay  and  my  absence.  In  course,  I  can 
know  nothing  of  the  public  taste  and  feelings,  but 
from  what  I  glean  from  letters,  &c.  Both  seem  to 
be  as  bad  as  possible. 

"  I  thought  Anastasius  excellent:  did  I  not  say  so  ? 
Matthews's  Diary  most  excellent ;  it,  and  Forsyth, 
and  parts  of  Hobhouse,  are  all  we  have  of  truth 
or  sense  upon  Italy.  The  Letter  to  Julia  very  good 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  343 

indeed.  I  do  not  despise  ******;  but  if  she  knit 
blue  stockings  instead  of  wearing  them,  it  would  be 
better.  You  are  taken  in  by  that  false  stilted  trashy 
style,  which  is  a  mixture  of  all  the  styles  of  the  day, 
which  are  all  bombastic  (I  don't  except  my  own  —  no 
one  has  done  more  through  negligence  to  corrupt 
the  language) ;  but  it  is  neither  English  nor  poetry. 
Time  will  show. 

"  I  am  sorry  Gifford  has  made  no  further  remarks 
beyond  the  first  Act :  does  he  think  all  the  English 
equally  sterling  as  he  thought  the  first  ?  You  did 
right  to  send  the  proofs :  I  was  a  fool ;  but  I  do  really 
detest  the  sight  of  proofs :  it  is  an  absurdity ;  but 
comes  from  laziness. 

"  You  can  steal  the  two  Juans  into  the  world 
quietly,  tagged  to  the  others.  The  play  as  you  will 
—  the  Dante  too ;  but  the  Pulci  I  am  proud  of:  it 
is  superb ;  you  have  no  such  translation.  It  is  the 
best  thing  I  ever  did  in  my  life.  I  wrote  the  play 
from  beginning  to  end,  and  not  a  single  scene  without 
interruption,  and  being  obliged  to  break  off  in  the 
middle  ;  for  I  had  my  hands  full,  and  my  head,  too, 
just  then;  so  it  can  be  no  great  shakes  —  I  mean 
the  play  ;  and  the  head  too,  if  you  like. 

"  P.  S.  Politics  here  still  savage  and  uncertain . 
However,  we  are  all  in  our  <  bandaliers,'  to  join  the 
«  Highlanders  if  they  cross  the  Forth,'  *.  e.  to  crush 
the  Austrians  if  they  cross  the  Po.  The  rascals !  — 
and  that  dog  Liverpool,  to  say  their  subjects  are 
happy  /  If  ever  I  come  back,  I'll  work  some  of  these 

344  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

"  Sept.  29. 

"  I  opened  my  letter  to  say,  that  on  reading  more 
of  the  four  volumes  on  Italy,  where  the  author  says 
.'  declined  an  introduction,'  I  perceive  (horresco  re- 
ferens)  it  is  written  by  a  WOMAN  ! !  I  In  that  case 
you  must  suppress  my  note  and  answer,  and  all  I 
have  said  about  the  book  and  the  writer.  I  never 
dreamed  of  it  until  now,  in  my  extreme  wrath  at 
that  precious  note.  I  can  only  say  that  I  am  sorry 
that  a  lady  should  say  any  thing  of  the  kind.  What 
I  would  have  said  to  one  of  the  other  sex  you  know 
already.  Her  book  too  (as  a  she  book)  is  not  a  bad 
one ;  but  she  evidently  don't  know  the  Italians,  or 
rather  don't  like  them,  and  forgets  the  causes  of  their 
misery  and  profligacy  (Matthews  and  Forsyth  are 
your  men  for  truth  and  tact),  and  has  gone  over 
Italy  in  company  —  always  a  bad  plan  :  you  must 
be  alone  with  people  to  know  them  well.  Ask  her, 
who  was  the  *  descendant  of  Lady  M.  W.  Montague,' 
and  by  whom  ?  by  Algarotti  ? 

"  I  suspect  that,  in  Marino  Faliero,  you  and  yours 
won't  like  the  politics,  which  are  perilous  to  you  in 
these  times ;  but  recollect  that  it  is  not  a  political 
play,  and  that  I  was  obliged  to  put  into  the  mouths 
of  the  characters  the  sentiments  upon  which  they 
acted.  I  hate  all  things  written  like  Pizarro,  to 
represent  France,  England,  and  so  forth.  All  I  have 
done  is  meant  to  be  purely  Venetian,  even  to  the 
very  prophecy  of  its  present  state. 

"  Your  Angles  in  general  know  little  of  the 
Italians,  who  detest  them  for  their  numbers  and 
their  GENOA  treachery.  Besides,  the  English  tra- 

1820.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  345 

vellers  have  not  been  composed  of  the  best  company. 
How  could  they?  — out  of  100,000,  how  many 
gentlemen  were  there,  or  honest  men  ? 

"  Mitchell's  Aristophanes  is  excellent.  Send  me 
the  rest  of  it. 

"  These  fools  will  force  me  to  write  a  book  about 
Italy  myself,  to  give  them  '  the  loud  lie.'  They 
prate  about  assassination ;  what  is  it  but  the  origin 
of  duelling  —  and  *  a  wild  justice?  as  Lord  Bacon 
calls  it  ?  It  is  the  fount  of  the  modern  point  of 
honour  in  what  the  laws  can't  or  wont  reach.  Every 
man  is  liable  to  it  more  or  less,  according  to  cir- 
cumstances or  place.  For  instance,  I  am  living 
here  exposed  to  it  daily,  for  I  have  happened  to 
make  a  powerful  and  unprincipled  man  my  enemy ; 
—  and  I  never  sleep  the  worse  for  it,  or  ride  in  less 
solitary  places,  because  precaution  is  useless,  and 
one  thinks  of  it  as  of  a  disease  which  may  or  may 
not  strike.  It  is  true  that  there  are  those  here, 
who,  if  he  did,  would  *  live  to  think  on't;'  but  that 
would  not  awake  my  bones :  I  should  be  sorry  if  it 
would,  were  they  once  at  rest." 

LETTER  389.         TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  8bre  6°,  1820. 

u  You  will  have  now  received  all  the  Acts,  cor- 
rected, of  the  Marino  Faliero.  What  you  say  of 
the  *  bet  of  100  guineas'  made  by  some  one  who 
says  that  he  saw  me  last  week,  reminds  me  of  what 
happened  in  1810:  you  can  easily  ascertain  the 
fact,  and  it  is  an  odd  one 

846  NOTICES    OF    THE  J820. 

"  In  the  latter  end  of  1 81 1,  I  met  one  evening  at 
the  Alfred  my  old  school  and  form  fellow  (for  we 
were  within  two  of  each  other,  he  the  higher,  though 
both  very  near  the  top  of  our  remove,)  Peel,  the  Irish 
secretary.  He  told  me  that,  in  1810,  he  met  me, 
as  he  thought,  in  St.  James's  Street,  but  we  passed 
without  speaking.  He  mentioned  this,  and  it  was 
denied  as  impossible,  I  being  then  in  Turkey.  A 
day  or  two  afterward,  he  pointed  out  to  his  brother 
a  person  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  way  :  —  *  There,' 
said  he,  '  is  the  man  whom  I  took  for  Byron.'  His 
brother  instantly  answered,  *  Why,  it  is  Byron,  and 
no  one  else.'  But  this  is  not  all :  —  I  was  seen  by 
somebody  to  write  down  my  name  amongst  the  en- 
quirers after  the  King's  health,  then  attacked  by 
insanity.  Now,  at  this  very  period,  as  nearly  as  I 
could  make  out,  I  was  ill  of  a  strong  fever  at  Patras, 
caught  in  the  marshes  near  Olympia,  from  the  mal- 
aria. If  I  had  died  there,  this  would  have  been  a 
new  ghost  story  for  you.  You  can  easily  make  out 
the  accuracy  of  this  from  Peel  himself,  who  told  it 
in  detail.  I  suppose  you  will  be  of  the  opinion  of 
Lucretius,  who  (denies  the  immortality  of  the  soul, 
but)  asserts  that  from  the  '  flying  off  of  the  surfaces 
of  bodies,  these  surfaces  or  cases,  like  the  coats  of 
an  onion,  are  sometimes  seen  entire  when  they  are 
separated  from  it,  so  that  the  shapes  and  shadows  of 
both  the  dead  and  living  are  frequently  beheld.' 

"  But  if  they  are,  are  their  coats  and  waistcoats 
also  seen  ?  I  do  not  disbelieve  that  we  may  be  two 
by  some  unconscious  process,  to  a  certain  sign,  but 
which  of  these  two  I  happen  at  present  to  be,  I 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  84-7 

leave  you  to  decide.     I  only  hope  that  father  me 
behaves  like  a  gemman. 

"  I  wish  you  would  get  Peel  asked  how  far  I  am 
accurate  in  my  recollection  of  what  he  told  me ;  for 
I  don't  like  to  say  such  things  without  authority. 

"  I  am  not  sure  that  I  was  not  spoken  with ;  but 
this  also  you  can  ascertain.  I  have  written  to  you 
such  letters  that  I  stop. 

"  Yours,  &c. 

"  P.  S.  Last  year  (in  June,  1819,  I  met  at  Count 
Mosti's,  at  Ferrara,  an  Italian  who  asked  me  *  if  I 
knew  Lord  Byron?'  I  told  him  no  (no  one  knows 
himself,  you  know).  *  Then,'  says  he,  '  I  do ;  I  met 
him  at  Naples  the  other  day.'  I  pulled  out  my  card 
and  asked  him  if  that  was  the  way  he  spelt  his  name: 
he  answered,  yes.  I  suspect  that  it  was  a  blackguard 
navy  surgeon,  who  attended  a  young  travelling 
madam  about,  and  passed  himself  for  a  lord  at  the 
post-houses.  He  was  a  vulgar  dog — quite  of  the 
cock-pit  order  —  and  a  precious  representative  I 
must  have  had  of  him,  if  it  was  even  so ;  but  I  don't 
know.  He  passed  himself  off  as  a  gentleman,  and 
squired  about  a  Countess  *  *  (of  this  place),  then 
at  Venice,  an  ugly  battered  woman,  of  bad  morals 
even  for  Italy." 

LETTER  390.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Ravenna,  8bre  8°,  1820. 

•'  Foscolo's  letter  is  exactly  the  thing  wanted ; 
firstly,  because  he  is  a  man  of  genius ;  and,  next, 

348  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

because  he  is  an  Italian,  and  therefore  tho  best 
judge  of  Italics.  Besides, 

"  He's  more  an  antique  Roman  than  a  Dane ; 

that  is,  he  is  more  of  the  ancient  Greek  than  of  the 
modern  Italian.  Though  '  somewhat,'  as  Dugald 
Dalgetty  says,  '  too  wild  and  salvage'  (like  *  Ronald 
of  the  Mist'),  'tis  a  wonderful  man,  and  my  friends 
Hobhouse  and  Rose  both  swear  by  him ;  and  they 
are  good  judges  of  men  and  of  Italian  humanity. 

"  Here  are  in  all  tivo  worthy  voices  gain'd : 

Gifford  says  it  is  good  *  sterling  genuine  English,' 
and  Foscolo  says  that  the  characters  are  right 
Venetian.  Shakspeare  and  Otway  had  a  million  of 
advantages  over  me,  besides  the  incalculable  one  of 
being  dead  from  one  to  two  centuries,  and  having 
been  both  born  blackguards  (which  ARE  such  attrac- 
tions to  the  gentle  living  reader)  ;  let  me  then  pre- 
serve the  only  one  which  I  could  possibly  have — 
that  of  having  been  at  Venice,  and  entered  more 
into  the  local  spirit  of  it.  I  claim  no  more. 

"  I  know  what  Foscolo  means  about  Calendaro's 
spitting  at  Bertram ;  that's  national  —  the  objection, 
I  mean.  The  Italians  and  French,  with  those  *  flags 
of  abomination,'  their  pocket  handkerchiefs,  spit 
there,  and  here,  and  every  where  else  —  in  your 
face  almost,  and  therefore  object  to  it  on  the  stage 
as  too  familiar.  But  we  who  spit  nowhere — but  in 
a  man's  face  when  we  grow  savage — are  not  likely 
to  feel  this.  Remember  Massinger,  and  Kean's  Sir 
Giles  Overreach — 

"  Lord  !  thus  I  spit  at  thee  and  at  thy  counsel ! 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON. 

Besides,  Calendaro  does  not  spit  in  Bertram's  face ; 
he  spits  at  him,  as  I  have  seen  the  Mussulmans  do 
upon  the  ground  when  they  are  in  a  rage.  Again, 
he  does  not  in  fact  despise  Bertram,  though  he  affects 
it — as  we  all  do,  when  angry  with  one  we  think  our 
inferior.  He  is  angry  at  not  being  allowed  to  die  in 
his  own  way  (although  not  afraid  of  death) ;  and  re- 
collect that  he  suspected  and  hated  Bertram  from 
the  first.  Israel  Bertuccio,  on  the  other  hand,  is  a 
cooler  and  more  concentrated  fellow :  he  acts  upon 
principle  and  impulse;  Calendaro  upon  impulse  and 

"  So  there's  argument  for  you. 

"  The  Doge  repeats;  —  true,  but  it  is  from  en- 
grossing passion,  and  because  he  sees  different 
persons,  and  is  always  obliged  to  recur  to  the 
cause  uppermost  in  his  mind.  His  speeches  are 
long: — true,  but  I  wrote  for  the  closet,  and  on  the 
French  and  Italian  model  rather  than  yours,  which 
I  think  not  very  highly  of,  for  all  your  old  drama- 
tists, who  are  long  enough  too,  God  knows:  —  look 
into  any  of  them. 

"  I  return  you  Foscolo's  letter,  because  it  alludes 
also  to  his  private  affairs.  I  am  sorry  to  see  such  a 
man  in  straits,  because  I  know  what  they  are,  or 
what  they  were.  I  never  met  but  three  men  who 
would  have  held  out  a  finger  to  me :  one  was  your- 
self, the  other  William  Bankes,  and  the  other  a 
nobleman  long  ago  dead :  but  of  these  the  first  was 
the  only  one  who  offered  it  while  I  really  wanted  it; 
the  second  from  good  will — but  I  was  not  in  need  of 
Bankes's  aid,  and  would  not  have  accepted  it  if  I 

350  NOTICES   OF   THE  I82O. 

had  (though  I  love   and  esteem  him) ;   and   the 
third .* 

"  So  you  see  that  I  have  seen  some  strange  things 
in  my  time.  As  for  your  own  offer,  it  was  in  1815, 
when  I  was  in  actual  uncertainty  of  five  pounds.  I 
rejected  it ;  but  I  have  not  forgotten  it,  although  you 
probably  have. 

"  P.  S.  Foscolo's  Ricciardo  was  lent,  with  the 
leaves  uncut,  to  some  Italians,  now  in  villeggiatura, 
so  that  I  have  had  no  opportunity  of  hearing  their 
decision,  or  of  reading  it.  They  seized  on  it  as 
Foscolo's,  and  on  account  of  the  beauty  of  the 
paper  and  printing,  directly.  If  I  find  it  takes,  I 
will  reprint  it  here.  The  Italians  think  as  highly  of 
Foscolo  as  they  can  of  any  man,  divided  and  miser- 
able as  they  are,  and  with  neither  leisure  at  present 
to  read,  nor  head  nor  heart  to  judge  of  any  thing 
but  extracts  from  French  newspapers  and  the  Lugano 

"  We  are  all  looking  at  one  another,  like  wolves 
on  their  prey  in  pursuit,  only  waiting  for  the  first 
falling  on  to  do  unutterable  things.  They  are  a 
great  world  in  chaos,  or  angels  in  hell,  which  you 
please ;  but  out  of  chaos  came  Paradise,  and  out  of 
hell — I  don't  know  what;  but  the  devil  went  in 
there,  and  he  was  a  fine  fellow  once,  you  know. 

"  You  need  never  favour  me  with  any  periodical 
publication,  except  the  Edinburgh  Quarterly,  and  an 
occasional  Blackwood ;  or  now  and  then  a  Monthly 
Review ;  for  the  rest  I  do  not  feel  curiosity  enough 
to  look  beyond  their  covers. 

*  The  paragraph  is  left  thus  imperfect  in  the  original. 

1820.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  351 

"  To  be  sure  I  took  in  the  British  finely.  He  fell 
precisely  into  the  glaring  trap  laid  for  him.  It  was 
inconceivable  how  he  could  be  so  absurd  as  to 
imagine  us  serious  with  him. 

"  Recollect,  that  if  you  put  my  name  to  '  Don 
Juan'  in  these  canting  days,  any  lawyer  might  oppose 
my  guardian  right  of  my  daughter  in  Chancery,  on 
the  plea  of  its  containing  the  parody ;  —  such  are 
the  perils  of  a  foolish  jest.  I  was  not  aware  of  this 
at  the  time,  but  you  will  find  it  correct,  I  believe ; 
and  you  may  be  sure  that  the  Noels  would  not  let  it 
slip.  Now  I  prefer  my  child  to  a  poem  at  any 
time,  and  so  should  you,  as  having  half  a  dozen. 

"  Let  me  know  your  notions. 

"  If  you  turn  over  the  earlier  pages  of  the  Hun- 
tingdon peerage  story,  you  will  see  how  common  a 
name  Ada  was  in  the  early  Plantagenet  days.  I 
found  it  in  my  own  pedigree  in  the  reign  of  John 
and  Henry,  and  gave  it  to  my  daughter.  It  was 
also  the  name  of  Charlemagne's  sister.  It  is  in  an 
early  chapter  of  Genesis,  as  the  name  of  the  wife  of 
Lamech ;  and  I  suppose  Ada  is  the  feminine  of 
Adam.  It  is  short,  ancient,  vocalic,  and  had  been 
in  my  family;  for  which  reason  I  gave  it  to  my 

LETTE*  391.       TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  8bre  12°,  1820. 

"  By  land  and  sea  carriage  a  considerable  quan- 
tity of  books  have  arrived ;  and  I  am  obliged  and 
grateful  :  but  «  medio  de  fonte  leporum,  surgit 

352  NOTICES    OF    THE 

amari  aliquid,'  &c.  &c. ;  which,  being  interpreted, 

"  I'm  thankful  for  your  books,  dear  Murray ; 
But  why  not  send  Scott's  Monastery  ? 

the  only  book  in  four  living  volumes  I  would  give  a 
baioccolo  to  see  —  'bating  the  rest  of  the  same 
author,  and  an  occasional  Edinburgh  and  Quarterly, 
as  brief  chroniclers  of  the  times.  Instead  of  this,  here 
are  Johnny  Keats's  *  *  poetry,  and  three  novels  by 
God  knows  whom,  except  that  there  is  Peg  *  *  *'s 
name  to  one  of  them — a  spinster  whom  I  thought 
we  had  sent  back  to  her  spinning.  Crayon  is  very 
good ;  Hogg's  Tales  rough,  but  RACY,  and  welcome. 

"  Books  of  travels  are  expensive,  and  I  don't 
want  them,  having  travelled  already ;  besides,  they 
lie.  Thank  the  author  of  '  The  Profligate'  for  his 
(or  her)  present.  Pray  send  me  no  more  poetry  but 
what  is  rare  and  decidedly  good.  There  is  such  a 
trash  of  Keats  and  the  like  upon  my  tables  that  I 
am  ashamed  to  look  at  them.  I  say  nothing  against 
your  parsons,  your  S  **  s  and  your  C  **  s — it 
is  all  very  fine — but  pray  dispense  me  from  the 
pleasure.  Instead  of  poetry,  if  you  will  favour  me 
with  a  few  soda-powders,  I  shall  be  delighted :  but 
all  prose  ('bating  travels  and  novels  NOT  by  Scott)  is 
welcome,  especially  Scott's  Tales  of  my  Landlord, 
and  so  on. 

"  In  the  notes  to  Marino  Faliero,  it  may  be  as 
well  to  say  that  '  Benintende'  was  not  really  of  the 
Ten,  but  merely  Grand  Chancellor,  a  separate  office 
(although  important):  it  was  an  arbitrary  alteration 

J820.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  353 

of  mine.  The  Doges  too  were  all  buried  in  Si. 
Mark's  before  Faliero.  It  is  singular  that  when  his 
predecessor,  Andrea  Dandolo,  died,  the  Ten  made  a 
law  that  all  the  future  Doges  should  be  buried  with 
their  families,  in  their  own  churches, — one  would 
think  by  a  kind  of  presentiment.  So  that  all  that  is 
said  of  his  ancestral  Doges,  as  buried  at  St.  John's 
and  Paul's,  is  altered  from  the  fact,  they  being  in 
St.  Mark's.  Make  a  note  of  this,  and  put  Editor  as 
the  subscription  to  it. 

"  As  I  make  such  pretensions  to  accuracy,  I 
should  not  like  to  be  twitted  even  with  such  trifles 
on  that  score.  Of  the  play  they  may  say  what  they 
please,  but  not  so  of  my  costume  and  dram.  pers. 
they  having  been  real  existences. 

"  I  omitted  Foscolo  in  my  list  of  living  Venetian 
worthies,  in  the  notes,  considering  him  as  an  Italian 
in  general,  and  not  a  mere  provincial  like  the  rest ; 
and  as  an  Italian  I  have  spoken  of  him  in  the  pre- 
face to  Canto  4th  of  Childe  Harold. 

"  The  French  translation  of  us  ! ! !  oime  !  oime  f  — 
the  German ;  but  I  don't  understand  the  latter  and 
his  long  dissertation  at  the  end  about  the  Fausts. 
Excuse  haste.  Of  politics  it  is  not  safe  to  speak, 
but  nothing  is,  decided  as  yet. 

"  I  am  in  a  very  fierce  humour  at  not  having 
Scott's  Monastery.  You  are  too  liberal  in  quantity, 
and  somewhat  careless  of  the  quality,  of  your 
missives.  All  the  Quarterlies  (four  in  number)  I 
had  had  before  from  you,  and  two  of  the  Edinburgh  ; 
but  no  matter ;  we  shall  have  new  ones  by  and  by. 
No  more  Keats,  I  entreat : — flay  him  alive ;  if  some 

VOL.  iv.  A  A 

354?  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

of  you  don't,  I  must  skin  him  myself.  There  is  no 
bearing  the  drivelling  idiotism  of  the  manikin. 

"  I  don't  feel  inclined  to  care  further  about  (  Don 
Juan.'  What  do  you  think  a  very  pretty  Italian 
lady  said  to  me  the  other  day  ?  She  had  read  it  in 
the  French,  and  paid  me  some  compliments,  with 
due  DRAWBACKS,  upon  it.  I  answered  that  what 
she  said  was  true,  but  that  I  suspected  it  would  live 
longer  than  Childe  Harold.  «  Ah  but'  (said  she)./ 
would  rather  have  the  fame  of  Childe  Harold  for 
three  years  than  an  IMMORTALITY  of  Don  Juan!' 
The  truth  is  that  it  is  TOO  TRUE,  and  the  women 
hate  many  things  which  strip  off  the  tinsel  of  senti- 
ment; and  they  are  right,  as  it  would  rob  them  of 
their  weapons.  I  never  knew  a  woman  who  did  not 
hate  De  Grammont's  Memoirs  for  the  same  reason : 
even  Lady  *  *  used  to  abuse  them. 

"  Rose's  work  I  never  received.  It  was  seized 
at  Venice.  Such  is  the  liberality  of  the  Huns,  with 
their  two  hundred  thousand  men,  that  they  dare  not 
let  such  a  volume  as  his  circulate." 

LETTER  392.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

«  Ravenna,  8bre  16°,  1820. 

"  The  Abbot  has  just  arrived ;  many  thanks  ;  as 
also  for  the  Monastery  —  when  you  send  it !  !  ! 

"  The  Abbot  will  have  a  more  than  ordinary 
interest  for  me,  for  an  ancestor  of  mine  by  the  mo- 
ther's side,  Sir  J.  Gordon  of  Gight,  the  handsomest 
of  his  day,  died  on  a  scaffold  at  Aberdeen  for  his 
loyalty  to  Mary,  of  whom  he  was  an  imputed  para- 

1820.  I'IFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  355 

mour  as  well  as  her  relation.  His  fate  was  much 
commented  on  in  the  Chronicles  of  the  times.  If  I 
mistake  not,  he  had  something  to  do  with  her  escape 
from  Loch  Leven,  or  with  her  captivity  there.  But 
this  you  will  know  better  than  I. 

"  I  recollect  Loch  Leven  as  it  were  but  yester- 
day. I  saw  it  in  my  way  to  England  in  1798,  being 
then  ten  years  of  age.  My  mother,  who  was  as 
haughty  as  Lucifer  with  her  descent  from  the 
Stuarts,  and  her  right  line  from  the  old  Gordons, 
not  the  Seyton  Gordons,  as  she  disdainfully  termed 
the  ducal  branch,  told  me  the  story,  always  remind- 
ing me  how  superior  her  Gordons  were  to  the 
southern  Byrons,  notwithstanding  our  Norman,  and 
always  masculine  descent,  which  has  never  lapsed 
into  a  female,  as  my  mother's  Gordons  had  done  in 
her  own  person. 

"  I  have  written  to  you  so  often  lately,  that  the 
brevity  of  this  will  be  welcome.  Yours,"  &c. 

LETTER  393.        TO  MR.  MURRAY. 

"  Ravenna,  8bre  17°,  1820. 

"  Enclosed  is  the  Dedication  of  Marino  Faliero 
to  Goethe.  Query,  —  is  his  title  Baron  or  not  ?  I 
think  yes.  Let  me  know  your  opinion,  and  so  forth. 
"  P.  S.  Let  me  know  what  Mr.  Hobhouse  and 
you  have  decided  about  the  two  prose  letters  and 
their  publication. 

"  I  enclose  you  an  Italian  abstract  of  the  German 
translator  of  Manfred's  Appendix,  in  which  you  will 
perceive  quoted  what  Goethe  says  of  the  whole  body 
A  A  2 

356  NOTICES    OF    THE  1820. 

of  English  poetry  (and  not  of  me  in  particular). 
On  this  the  Dedication  is  founded,  as  you  will  per- 
ceive, though  I  had  thought  of  it  before,  for  I  look 
upon  him  as  a  great  man." 

The  very  singular  Dedication  transmitted  with 
this  letter  has  never  before  been  published,  nor,  as 
far  as  I  can  learn,  ever  reached  the  hands  of  the 
illustrious  German.  It  is  written  in  the  poet's  most 
whimsical  and  mocking  mood ;  and  the  unmeasured 
severity  poured  out  in  it  upon  the  two  favourite  ob- 
jects of  his  wrath  and  ridicule  compels  me  to  deprive 
the  reader  of  some  of  its  most  amusing  passages. 

DEDICATION  TO  BARON  GOETHE,  &c.  &c.  &c. 

«  Sir,  —  In  the  Appendix  to  an  English  work 
lately  translated  into  German  and  published  at 
Leipsic,  a  judgment  of  yours  upon  English  poetry  is 
quoted  as  follows :  «  That  in  English  poetry,  great 
genius,  universal  power,  a  feeling  of  profundity,  with 
sufficient  tenderness  and  force,  are  to  be  found ;  but 
that  altogether  these  do  not  constitute  poets,'  &c.  &c. 

"  I  regret  to  see  a  great  man  falling  into  a  great 
mistake.  This  opinion  of  yours  only  proves  that  the 
*  Dictionary  often  thousand  living  English  Authors' 
has  not  been  translated  into  German.  You  will 
have  read,  in  your  friend  Schlegel's  version,  the 
dialogue  in  Macbeth  — 

"  '  There  are  ten  thousand  ! 
Macbeth.     Geese,  villain? 
Answer.  Authors,  sir.' 

1820.  LIFE    OF    LORD    BYRON.  357 

Now,  of  these  '  ten  thousand  authors/  there  are  ac- 
tually nineteen  hundred  and  eighty-seven  poets, 
all  alive  at  this  moment,  whatever  their  works  may 
be,  as  their  booksellers  well  know ;  and  amongst 
these  there  are  several  who  possess  a  far  greater 
reputation  than  mine,  although  considerably  less 
than  yours.  It  is  owing  to  this  neglect  on  the  part 
of  your  German  translators  that  you  are  not  aware 
of  the  works  of  *  *  * . 

"  There  is  also  another,  named     *       *       *       * 

"  I   mention  these  poets  by  way  of  sample   to 

enlighten  you.     They  form  but  two  bricks  of  our 

Babel,  (WINDSOR  bricks,  by  the  way,)  but  may  serve 

for  a  specimen  of  the  building. 

"  It  is,  moreover,  asserted  that  *  the  predominant 
character  of  the  whole  body  of  the  present  English 
poetry  is  a  disgust  and  contempt  for  life.'  But  I 
rather  suspect  that,  by  one  single  work  of  prose, 
you  yourself  have  excited  a  greater  contempt  for  life 
than  all  the  English  volumes  of  poesy  that  ever  were 
written.  Madame  de  Stae'l  says,  that  '  Werther  has 
occasioned  more  suicides  than  the  most  beautiful 
woman  ; '  and  I  really  believe  that  he  has  put  more 
individuals  out  of  this  world  than  Napoleon  himself, 
except  in  the  way  of  his  profession.  Perhaps,  Illus- 
trious Sir,  the  acrimonious  judgment  passed  by  a 
celebrated  northern  journal  upon  you  in  particular, 
and  the  Germans  in  general,  has  rather  indisposed 
you  towards  English  poetry  as  well  as  criticism. 
But  you  must  not  regard  our  critics,  who  are  at 
bottom  good-natured  fellows,  considering  their  two 
professions,  —  taking  up  the  law  in  court,  and  laying 

358  NOTICES   OF    THE  1820. 

it  down  out  of  it.  No  one  can  more  lament  their 
hasty  and  unfair  judgment,  in  your  particular,  than 
I  do;  and  I  so  expressed  myself  to  your  friend 
Schlegel,  in  1816,  at  Coppet. 

"  In  behalf  of  my  t  ten  thousand'  living  brethren, 
and  of  myself,  I  have  thus  far  taken  notice  of  an 
opinion  expressed  with  regard  to  '  English  poetry 
in  general,  and  which  merited  notice,  because  it 
was  YOURS. 

"  My  principal  object  in  addressing  you  was  to 
testify  my  sincere  respect  and  admiration  of  a  man, 
who,  for  half  a  century,  has  led  the  literature  of  a 
great  nation,  and  will  go  down  to  posterity  as  the 
first  literary  character  of  his  age. 

"  You  have  been  fortunate,  Sir,  not  only  in  the 
writings  which  have  illustrated  your  name,  but  in 
the  name  itself,  as  being  sufficiently  musical  for  the 
articulation  of  posterity.  In  this  you  have  the  ad- 
vantage of  some  of  your  countrymen,  whose  names 
would  perhaps  be  immortal  also  —  if  any  body  could 
pronounce  them. 

"  It  may,  perhaps,  be  supposed,  by  this  apparent 
tone  of  levity,  that  I  am  wanting  in  intentional 
respect  towards  you ;  but  this  will  be  a  mistake : 
I  am  always  flippant  in  prose.  Considering  you, 
as  I  really  and  warmly  do,  in  common  with  all  your 
own,  and  with  most  other  nations,  to  be  by  far  the 
first  literary  character  which  has  existed  in  Europe 
since  the  death  of  Voltaire,  I  felt,  and  feel,  desirous 
to  inscribe  to  you  the  following  work, — not  as  being 
either  a  tragedy  or  a  poem,  (for  I  cannot  pronounce 
upon  its  pretensions  to  be  either  one  or  the  other, 

1820.  LIFE   OF    LORD    BYRON.  359 

or  both,  or  neither,)  but  as  a  mark  of  esteem  ana 
admiration  from  a  foreigner  to  the  man  who  has  been 
hailed  in  Germany  «  THE  GREAT  GOETHE.' 
"  I  have  the  honour  to  be, 

"  With  the  truest  respect, 

"  Your  most  obedient  and 
"  Very  humble  servant, 

"  BYRON. 

"  Ravenna,  8bre  14°,  1820. 

"  P.  S.  I  perceive  that  in  Germany,  as  well  as  in 
Italy,  there  is  a  great  struggle  about  what  they  call 
«  Classical'  and  «  Romantic,'  —  terms  which  were  not 
subjects  of  classification  in  England,  at  least  when  1 
left  it  four  or  five  years  ago.  Some  of  the  English 
scribblers,  it  is  true,  abused  Pope  and  Swift,  but  the 
reason  was  that  they  themselves  did  not  know  how 
to  write  either  prose  or  verse ;  but  nobody  thought 
them  worth  making  a  sect  of.  Perhaps  there  may 
be  something  of  the  kind  sprung  up  lately,  but  I 
have  not  heard  much  about  it,  and  it  would  be  such 
bad  taste  that  I  shall  be  very  sorry  to  believe  it." 



rfpoTTis\vooi)Es  and  SHAW,